BOARD OF REGISTRATIONS AND ELECTIONS, FULTON COUNTY: DECEMBER 10TH, 2015 MEETING

 

Public Response

A representative from the City of Atlanta is in attendance to discuss one of the polling places that the board has relocated in the last few months. Council Member Joyce Shepherd (District 12) has expressed concerns about precinct 12E. It was moved from Stuart Lakewood Library (which had closed) to Cleveland Avenue Library. She believes the new library is too small. There is a another precinct, 12J, that is also located at that polling place. Very limited parking. Ingress and egress is horrible. Traffic makes it difficult to get in/out at that location. Council Member Shepherd wants the board to consider moving 12E(1) to a Fulton county facility, the name of which she doesn’t have on her right now (a health facility, she thinks she remembers).

  • Chairperson Cooney (I): this is not one of the boundary line changes that we have before us today. Instructed Bower to consider it in the interim, before next month’s meeting.

Removal of Names from the Voter Rolls due to Felony Convictions 

Registration Manager Jones presented 212 names. He Recommended that one name be taken off the list; he produced documentation that the individual was a first-time offender (i.e. eligible to remain on the roll). The remaining 211 names were removed from the rolls.

Voter Registration Challenge Hearings by Debra Davis 

Davis has brought forth 197 names of persons she thinks should not be on the registered voter list.

According to popular knowledge, Davis is challenging these voters because she’s a leader in the Sandtown community. She doesn’t support the annexation and she doesn’t want voters voting in support of the annexation. So, she’s attempting to take these names off the rolls, to defeat the annexation.

Read perspectives on the annexation here: http://www.atlantamagazine.com/news-culture-articles/how-less-than-six-square-miles-could-determine-atlantas-next-mayor/

And here: http://www.atlantamagazine.com/news-culture-articles/reed-atlanta-magazines-annexation-story-perpetuates-a-form-of-bigotry/

Chairperson Cooney begins by calling on the names of individuals who are present in the meeting:

Ansley Thornton

  • Davis: challenging her because, at the time we prepared this challenge, Ansley didn’t live there. However, since the latest voter registration list was prepared, Ansley has been moved from active to inactive status. So, Davis is dismissing her challenge.

Don Simon

  • Davis: his mother indicated to me that he didn’t live there anymore, temporarily
  • Chairperson Cooney swears Davis in
  • Member Beck (D) makes a motion that the board reject the challenge to Simon’s voter status. Unanimous.
  • Member Burge (R) chimes in that there is a great possibility that there exist a number of individuals who are “residents”of Fulton County who have left the county temporarily (whether for college, etc.) but who are technically still residents of Fulton County. So, we should be aware of that fact and note that, if those individuals don’t have intent to change their residences (if they’ve left the county only temporarily), we cannot remove them from the rolls.

Tiffany and Tatiana Robinson

  • Washington is here as a mother on behalf of her daughters. Tatiana is away in college and Tiffany lives at the residence permanently. She travels for work, but she considers the home her permanent residence. 
  • Davis is challenging them because she was told these residents no longer live there. Davis says: there was a group that went out and “did all of this” (checked the residences of these voters).
  • Challenge rejected unanimously.
  • Washington: “this is my first experience with this sort of thing. I’m just wondering: how does this happen? Who goes around and does this? Who asked my neighbor if the girls live here? That just blew my mind. I guess Ms. Davis would be the person to answer that for me.”

*Board now moves to the remainder of the 197 names (who aren’t in attendance). Asks Davis “are any of these names ones that you’ve personally investigated?” Davis: “many of them, yes.”

Nubia Alexander

  • Mary Harris (a cohort of Davis’). Stands because she personally investigated Nubia Alexander. Her father said she lives in the Netherlands and to remove her name. He said she’s been gone four or five years and she doesn’t vote.
  • Member Burge says: just because someone is overseas doesn’t mean they intended to change their residence. Moves to reject the challenge for failure to meet the burden of proof. Chairperson Cooney seconds. Unanimously rejected.

Martineus Anderson

  • She’s registered at a new address, according to Registration Chief Dozier.
  • Chairperson Cooney: the appropriate action for us is not to remove her as a voter; it is to take no action. She is not a voter in Fulton County, but she is still a voter.
  • Davis says: you’re letting her vote at Aaron Road.
  • Registration Chief Dozier: that’s not correct. She’s registered at a different address.
  • Davis is concerned that she’s registered to vote at two different elections.
  • Registration Chief Dozier: she has already been dropped from the old address.

Sharon Barnes 

  • Another individual has lived at the residence for three years. Sharon Barnes no longer lives there, according to a letter the current resident penned.
  • Registration Chief Dozier: Barnes submitted a national change of address as of October 2015. She changed her postal address but hasn’t changed her voter registration address.
  • Chairperson Cooney asks for a recommendation from Registration Chief Dozier. We don’t want to challenge her ability to vote in Fulton County, if we don’t know that she no longer lives here.
  • Registration Chief Dozier: my recommendation would not be to remove her as a registered voter because we don’t know what her new address is.
  • Member Beck: shouldn’t we let the process take care of itself, before we strike her out?
  • Chairperson Cooney: expresses some agreement but notes that, if we don’t strike her now, she’ll vote in next year’s election.
  • Registration Chief Dozier: if we initiate action today, we could request a notice to identify herself as voting at that address.
  • Chairperson Cooney: so if we initiate today, we could give her a chance to respond and also still strike her, if we confirm she doesn’t live here.
  • Member Beck provides a motion to ascertain the status of this voter. Chairperson Cooney asks Member Burge if he would like to second. Member Burge says no, he won’t.
  • Member Burge moves to uphold the challenge. Chairperson Cooney seconds that motion.
  • Member Beck asks Registration Chief Dozier: you already mailed her a letter? Registration Chief Dozier says: yes. On october 5th.
  • Board unanimously removes her from the list.

Monthly operations report

Jan 19th = HD 58 election. Early voting will begin Dec 28th. Qualifying ends tomorrow (the 11th). On december 16th, Fulton’s partnership with a temporary staffing agency will begin. So, they’ll have temporary staffing through 2016. 4.8 million dollar payroll budget for that next year.

Equipment testing is happening right now and going well. Fulton processed 8,000 ish voter registration applications in November. That’s twice as many as in 2013 but in line with 2011.

Active, Non-Citizens

List of about 400 active voters and noncitizens. 120 that should have been grandfathered in because they were registered prior to 2008.

PPP Early Voting Site

Chairperson Cooney: we have to confirm the availability of each of these locations. A tentative approval is sufficient, per Registration and Elections Director Barron. We can confirm in January. We’ve made contact with all of these facilities. Director Barron wants approval today for four locations in each Commissioner’s District (all are libraries or other government facilities).

Member Burge reminds the board that this is something they were obligated to do under the Consent Order with the SOS.

Back to Voter Registration Challenge Hearings

Chairperson Cooney asked legal counsel if they could simply table this matter for their January meeting, because if we go through the remaining 190 challenges, we’ll be here all day. The answer unfortunately is “no.

Relevant code section provides: if the elector moves to a different address in the county and fails to notify the board, that elector shall vote in the precinct of their former residence.

Chairperson Cooney notes: I’ll ask that we continue this for another 2 hours. My guess is that I will lose a quorum.

Davis mentions: I’m having to take off work to be here, too. We’ve been working on this list since March and we need some closure.

Chairperson Cooney: Though you’ve been working at this list since last March, that was an annexation list submitted to the City, not to us.

Davis: I have a copy of the letter sent to Fulton County on March 30th.

County Attorney: Fulton County had no knowledge of who the challenger was at the time. So, Registration Chief Dozier had to figure out who the challenger was.

Davis: this whole process is holding up what we are trying to do as citizens. When we came here last month, you said the burden of proof is on me. I’ve tried to do whatever I can to get you what you need. It’s not fair to me as a citizen to continue to deal with something that I need to happen, just because you guys don’t want to sit here. This is a lot of work. If we have to come back in January, this will be my third time coming. If in January, we can’t get this done because of a federal election, that isn’t fair.

*Chairperson Cooney had the names rearranged by address and recommenced.

Veronica Frazier and Marcus Thomas (at same address)

  • Veronica Frazier received a national change of address notification on October 15th. She’s changing her address with the postal service but hasn’t changed it on her voter registration.
  • Marcus Thomas is still an active voter, registered at that address.
  • Veronica Frazier: removed unanimously

Dewitt Willborn

  • Member Burge moves to reject for failure to meet burden of proof, after Davis can’t find her info on this person.

Clayton Sinclair

  • deceased
  • Chairperson Cooney: it seems we received this death notice in 2013 and 2009.
    • Registration Manager Jones: if the information submitted by the proper authorities doesn’t exactly match our records, we can’t strike it. So, we’ve begun looking through the obits ourselves
  • voter removed

Note: all 197 challenges were discussed and decided during this meeting. A full list of the challenged voters, including the dispositions of those hearings, will be added to this blog post as soon as possible.

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