BOARD OF REGISTRATIONS AND ELECTIONS, HANCOCK COUNTY: MARCH 10TH, 2016 MEETING

In attendance:

Kathy Ransom (Chair, I)

Linda Clayton (D)

Robert Ingram (D)

Jim Youmans (Vice Chair & Secretary, R)

Chair Report

  • Commendation of the board, especially Member Clayton and Supervisor Medlock, for their excellent work on Election Day.
  • 1700 voters in Hancock County were able to cast their ballots. There were some challenges. Following these challenges, Chair Ransom and Supervisor Medlock reviewed them. 

Elections Supervisor Report

  • Elections Supervisor Medlock: I have always been a person that, if something goes wrong, I own it. Before I start, I want to apologize to the board and the citizens of Hancock County. On Election Day, we did have some things that didn’t go right. We had some polling locations that didn’t open on time. Going forward, I’ll need to streamline who can and cannot work [presumably referring to poll workers].
  • There weren’t enough people to do what needed to be done. There were three polling locations that did not open on time. Hancock County Youth Center, St. Mark, and Power of God. Voters who tried to vote in the morning at those locations were asked to wait.
  • Moving forward, we’ll be doing more training. We also had two polling locations where there was one person short. People didn’t show up for their shifts.

Unfinished Business

  1. BOER Website Update
  • Website manager was supposed to be here at 4:30pm to address the board about website issues/updates. Didn’t make it but will add him to the agenda during an April meeting.
  1. Senate Bill 412 (http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20152016/SB/412)
  • Bill already moved through the Senate. Now in the second reading stage in the House. Senator David Lucas has made this proposal.
  • Member Ingram: I like that it takes appointing power away from individuals outside of Hancock County. I also like that it allows the board to select a chairman from among their members.
  • Chair Ransom: what this bill proposes directly affects the Chair position. Senator Lucas, in this bill, suggests that my [Chair Ransom’s] term end at the end of this year. And that the current chair position now turn into an at-large position, chosen by the board of commissioners. That chosen individual would serve for a year. Once that individual is appointed and assumes his or her position on the board, then the board would choose a chairperson from among the five board members. When this board was created, the intention was to take politics out of this board in Hancock County. I think we can still be successful and meet the needs of Hancock County residents [without this change]. My appointment as chair by the judge still came with influence from local residents. My job is to ensure that the code is followed and that all Hancock County residents who want to and are eligible can vote. No matter what race, no matter what socioeconomic standing—we’re here for everybody. No matter white or black. If you look back over the record of how we’ve conducted our business, I think you’ll see that we’ve conducted our business in a way that is neutral.

New Business

  1. Recommendation by Attorney Grant
  • Chair Ransom: We had an executive session and we don’t have any decisions made in that regard.
  1. Official Hancock County District Map
  • Chair Ransom: Elections Supervisor Medlock did show that there is a difference between the official map and the smaller version/proposed map. Some people have been using the latter to figure out where the districts are drawn. I propose that we dispense with that smaller map [to avoid further confusion].
  • Member Ingram: I think we just need to ask the general public to stop using it. I’m not sure who even is using it.
  1. Voter’s Precincts; Checking Work—Board Member Stephens
  • Board Member Stephens not in attendance.
  1. Hancock Resident, Maxine Evans
  • Evans [a member of the public]: Want to present this letter to Ms. Medlock for some information that I need from her office.
  1. Staffing
  • Chair Ransom: Member Clayton has been a huge help around the office. She has been helping on an as-needed basis. No longer needed. Chair Ransom proposes putting Member Clayton on inactive status.
  • Member Ingram: I don’t think we should be discussing this in the regular board meeting. Would that not be considered a personnel issue?
  • Chair Ransom: It’s not discipline. There hasn’t been anything negative. It’s just that the cause for the position has been met. We are moving forward with the litigation. We’re into the next phase, potentially either depositions or some type of agreement, which would require more time from the board members. But our office traditionally is staffed by two folks. We added Ms. Clayton because there was an additional amount of work to be done, but that’s been done now. Would you like to postpone this discussion?
  • Member Ingram: I hear you saying that the goal has been met. There is no work to sustain her employment for the rest oft the year. Yet, today when I was in the office, I witnessed her [member Clayton] with a stack of work. I think we need to look at this again.
  • Vice Chair Youmans: Let’s just kinda’ let it tail out. Anytime you don’t need to be here 30 hours a week…[don’t be].
  • Chair Ransom: that would fall under Supervisor Medlock’s purview, to decide what work is left to be done.
  • Vice Chair Youmans: let’s look at it some more.
  • Chair Ransom agrees.

Public Comments

  • Don Bevill: I have a couple questions for Tiffany (Elections Supervisor Medlock). Kathy said approzimately 1700 people voted in the PPP. How many were advance voting and how many on election day?
    • Supervisor Medlock: approximately 300 or 400 were advance voting. The rest were Election Day.
  • Sally Gas: on this bill 412, I’d like to know how this was orchestrated in Hancock County. Senator Lucas has a lot of counties. Are we the only county he has done this to?
    • Chair Ransom: the Congresspeople who introduced it did not contact the board about this, so I do not know.
  • Unidentified citizen: Senate Bill 412. Does anybody know how far that has gone and is it in the hopper now or is it yet to be in the hopper at a later date?
    • Chair Ransom: it’s in second discussion at the House of Representatives.
  • Marion Warren: Ms. Ransom, our personnel saw you sticking up campaign signs for the Nov 3rd election. If you’re not supposed to have anything to do with politics, how is it that you were doing that? Also, I had people telling me that they were voting republican by mistake [in this most recent election] when they intended to vote democrat. The machines weren’t allowing them to vote democrat.
    • Chair Ransom: my husband’s candidacy is for the city’s election. The county did not conduct the city’s election. I did go to each board member prior to this candidacy and to our legal staff. There was no conflict of interest in me supporting my husband in that position because Hancock County did not conduct that election.
    • If individuals had issues voting on Election Day, they should call our office directly.
  • Maxine Evans: I would like the board to consider Ms. Clayton. I personally went into the office several times. And the office was very people friendly to the voters of Hancock County. There is another election coming up soon. You’re going to need the expertise of Member Clayon.
  • Larry Webb, District 3: during the election this past week. I noticed that when I went to vote, there was only one poll worker at Mayfield. For the upcoming election, are we only going to have one poll worker at that location?
    • Supervisor Medlock: there were two assigned to that location. Maybe when you went, one had stepped out. No, that will not be a practice going forward; we will have more workers at the precincts. We had some staffing issues on Election Day.

 

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