Rinda Wilson (Chairperson)
Ronnie Miley (Board Member)
Sandy Powell (Board Member)
Mike Kaplan (Board Member)
Herbert Spangler (Board Member)
Jeanetta Watson (Elections Supervisor)
Tommy Gillon (Elections Officer)
Larry Smith (Elections Office Staff)
Reginald McClendon (Assistant County Attorney)
The board introduced the visitors to the meeting, including Charles Coney (Assistant County Manager). The board also approved the minutes from the regular meeting held on October 15th, 2015 and the special call meeting on October 21st, 2015.
Coney gave an update on office relocation. The lease had been approved by and signed for by the Board of Commissioners. The new voting office will be in the old Carnival building. The board will be allowed to begin moving in the second week of January. The board was supposed to be there by December 8, 2015, but a notice needed to be sent out before they could start moving. They discussed having the public space moved/finished first so that they could move in shifts. The public space is the primary focus since they need to be able to allow voters to vote there, and the equipment needs to be placed there thirty (30) days before early voting begins on January 8th, 2016. All building plans have been finalized and twenty-five (25) advanced voting units are the only equipment that need to be functional. A special meeting was called for December 2nd, 2015 to lay the plans out for early voting.
The board then discussed the request for a satellite office in the 2016 fiscal year budget. This office would be used for early voting, which lasts three (3) weeks, or possibly just the final week of the early voting period. Current options for the satellite office are the Jackson Recreation Center, Macon Recreation Center and Terminal Station. The requested budget was thirty-three to thirty-five thousand (33,000 to 35,000) dollars for a single week, or forty thousand (40,000) dollars for all three (3) weeks. This budget would include the salary for voting office workers. The board is hoping that the office will be ready by May. Chairperson Wilson was concerned that early voting has not improved voter participation while absentee voting does, although she was willing to be proved wrong. The next action to take following this request would be to put in a supplemental budget request. The motion to approve was seconded by Member Spangler.
The board then went through updates for the local legislation meetings. Bubber Epps is the contact person for setting meetings for the local delegation, which meets once annually and is open to the public. Dickey will contact the board about the meeting date so that all board members can attend. It will certainly be in December, but the date has not been fixed. The board wanted a update to the charter where all uses of the phrase “City of Macon” and “County of Bibb” must be changed to “Macon-Bibb County”.
The board reviewed Election Day workers’ pay, and then discussed the qualifying dates and fees for the 2016 local races set by going through a list of all the elected positions.
The board went through their correspondence and individual board members gave their updates. Member Spangler notified everyone that the Citizens Advisory Committee no longer exists. Member Kaplan brought up issues going on with Brian Kemp. His office had released the voter files of six million (6,000,000) Georgians (all of those voters registered as of October 2015), which included those individuals’ names, drivers license numbers, social security numbers and other personal details. He said that if the board members were to ever be questioned on this issue by members of the public, all inquiries needed to be directed to Kemp’s office.
Elections Supervisor Watson announced that all Election Day workers had to attend Required Training Combined VRAG/GEOA O.C.G.A. 21-2-100(a), which would be held the second week of December. This training takes up sixteen (16) hours a year. All separate training conferences have been merged into a single conference in Athens, and there will be no training in 2016.
Assistant County Attorney McClendon updated the board about the commission candidate qualifying requirements. The question of whether commission candidates had to live in their district for a year before they qualified was raised. She announced that all potential candidates needed to be a resident of their district for one (1) year prior to qualifying, unless the individual lived in a location that had recently been redistricted.