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Dekalb County Board of Elections Meeting 11/15/19

Comments from the public

  1. Paula Wadsworth – Worked as a poll worker in the November election. How do you notify voters where they need to go to vote. About 10% of people she talked to that day had come to the wrong precinct. Provisional ballots – As of the close of business Thursday night, her provisional ballot had not been counted. Lack of a microphone… BOE needs to install a sound system.

    Erica Hamilton – Voter registration director– says you can information on where to vote: Precinct card every time there is a change.  Provisional ballot – Provisional ballots were counted this week. Voters who cast provisional ballots will be notified by mail within a few days.

    Liz Troop – New voter machine screens are huge and can be read from across the room. How can we ensure the secrecy of the vote? Putting up a curtain won’t work, because the new machines are easy to hack.  

Certify General Municipal Special Election
            Must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. At 4:45 p.m., Tilman’s motion to certify elections carried by voice vote. BOE members pass around certification forms for each municipality, etc for them to sign.

County Attorney Viviane Ernstes & Terry Phillips – Ernstes promised microphones by next meeting. She stressed that her office and the rest of county leadership are taking the upcoming election seriously. They are committed to making sure the next election is run in accordance with the law and that all votes are counted.

A) Kimberly Anderson, Andrew Maxin Guerrand, an Emeric Thomas Gurrrard – Claim they do not live at the address currently on file. Board received letter from the current homeowner (the challenger) stating that voter registration cards had been mailed to the house. Letter stated that the three do not live at that address. Two of the letters sent out were returned to sender. Staff recommends removing all three from the voter rolls. None of the three are present. Motter – Does letter satisfy burdon of proof. MOTION: To defer challenge to the next meeting – in meantime, Hamilton will call the homeowner to confirm that the letter came from her. Tilman – In the future, we will only do what we are required to do by law. We will not start calling people to confirm.

B) Diondre Daniel – Homeowner has lived at address for more than six years. Homeowner informed board that Daniels did not live there.  Letter returned. Staff recommendation is to remove voter from the rolls. Motion (Lewis) to remove: Motion carried four to one (Motter)

C) Shontell Johnson – Homeowner, Mrs. Hutton stated that Johnson does not live at that address. Hutton asked board how Johnson’s precinct cards were sent to her address. Why is the burden of proof is on the challenger – Ernstes: That’s up to the state legislature. Hamilton – BOE will send out a letter notifying Johnson she has been removed from the rolls. Hamilton – they have added two new staffers to focus on quality control. Smith – are we making MOTION (Smith) To defer this challenge until we can determine whether there was an error in how Johnson was registered. Was it an error in entering her information into the system? Did it happen on our end? Wants to make sure voter is not exposed or forced to cast a provisional ballot based on human error. Hamilton – If we remove voter and find that if it was an error on the office’s end – she would be reinstated. Smith – we need to everything we can to protect the right to vote. Lewis – we need to also make sure the homeowner is protected, because it is possible the person is using the address for fraudulent purposes. MOTION: To remove Johnson from the voters roll – carried 5/0

Unfinished business

  1. Challenge List provided by Lawrence H. Hoskins

Representative of Hoskins is present. 19 have registered at new address. Some are dead. Some have not    19 – no return mail. Staff is

Staff recommendation – to remove those who have not registered at new address or who have not returned mail  NGE – No action in three general elections – 

No action on those on NGE list

No return mail and active 9*

No return mail and inactive 14*

Returned and inactive 9*

Motion: to removed the voters in these categories (*) from the voter rolls. – Approved 5/0 

NGE – Under HB 316 – new rules Voters have until December 16 to respond to letter to make sure    27,000+ voters in DeKalb County on NGE …. So far… more than 2000+ letters to DeKalb voters have come back undeliverable. Sam: DeKalb County not responsible for content of the letter. Smith: What can DeKalb County do to insure that those of the list should be there? Hamilton: We don’t have staff to go through 27,000+ names. Ernstes: Needs to review the law and will send a legal opinion to board members and chair. Smith: Is there an effort to alert DeKalb County voters that they should check their registration – social media, etc? Hamilton: No. Only got notice of NGE a week before it went out. Smith: Can we publicize this through social media (Facebook & Twitter)? We should exhaust all reasonable methods for reaching voters. Broader issue is that we rely on public to “crowd source” making sure the NGE rolls are correct. 

Hoskins has withdrawn his challenge

New Business

  1. November election overview
    Hamilton – Staff did awesome job. No major problems. Turnout was 11% of registered voters.
  2. Runoff Advance Voting Times & Locations
    Run off for Doraville Mayor and StoneCrest – advance voting next Thursday from noon to 4:30 p.m., then (???)  Stonecrest has asked for voting location at Stonecrest Library.
  3. State Inactive List Maintenance Process
    See NGE discussion able
  4. December 2019
    December 2019 meeting needs to be moved to Friday, December 13 to allow for certification of runoff elections.
  5. 2020 Calendar – All second Thursday….. except for April, May, and November… March 12 at a different venue to avoid conflict with early voting and move April 9 up to April 3 to comply with certification of election. MOTION: Accept proposed changes to calendar for 2020 – carried 5/1
  6. Introduction of New Employees

Comments from the board

Susan Motter – Thanks to county attorney being here to give real time advice.

Lewis – Thanks staff for “getting us through another election.”

Smith – Recommends BOE members attend the upcoming conference for election employees at least once with fees paid for by the BOE

Yu – We are encouraging County Commissioners to participate on BOE meetings and on election night.

Sam – Staff is doing community outreach to demonstrate new equipment. I want every eligible voter to register to vote and to see the new equipment and try it out. The last thing I want to happen is that you spend 15 minutes in front of the machine on election day when there are only a few items to vote on.

Did you know that the public can attend Board of Registration and Elections meetings? 

These meetings are open to the public by Georgia law. Georgia Open Meetings Act.

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