BOARD OF ELECTIONS, ATHENS-CLARKE COUNTY GEORGIA: JANUARY 21, 2020 SPECIAL CALLED MEETING

Highlights from Athens-Clarke County BOE Special Meeting

1. Plan B – The Athens – Clarke County Board of Elections (BOE) Members are concerned about what to do if there are issues with the new election machines that the State of Georgia will be issuing for the new elections. The BOE approved adopting the Cobb County Pilot Plan for their Plan B. The BOE is also concerned about having sufficient electricity at the polling locations.
Info about Cobb Pilot Plan:
https://www.mdjonline.com/elections/eveler-paper-ballot-pilot-new-machines-a-success-in-cobb/article_16eeadb6-0181-11ea-a05e-e7ef327d817c.html
https://www.cobbcounty.org/elections

2. Polling Locations
A. The Athens – Clarke County BOE legally can not change polling locations for March 2020 elections because there is not enough time. They are moving forward to make changes for May 2020 election.
B. The Athens-Clarke County BOE wants to un-merge polling locations.
C. 2-4-20 The BOE will make the formal proposal of the changes in polling locations at next meeting on 2-4-20
D. The BOE has created a calendar to make changes by May 19, 2020 General primary.
E. Public hearings – at least 2 weeks prior to March 20 deadline for the general primary – 2-18-20 and 2-25-20
F. 2-26-20 Begin data entry in ENet and request a print order of new over registration cards from the SOS of voters affected by changes
G. 2-24-20 Begin educating voters of polling changes – posting notices
H. 3-9 to 13-20 Send mailer to affected voters, make submissions to appropriate offices, design and order signs to inform voters, inform local organ – Athens Banner Herald
I. One month prior to election day 4-17-20 – provide and advertise early voting opportunities, post notices at 3 locations near revised locations such as gas stations, publicize a new map in legal organ
J. 5-12-20 one week prior to election day place signs outside current and new polling locations
Document laying out the Athens – Clarke County polling location changes plan: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3Ac5e837a8-4ec1-4ba8-ac30-54f5e3f72598

3. Athens – Clarke County Board of Elections Members including Officers elected 1-21-20
https://www.athensclarkecounty.com/249/Board-of-Elections-Members
Jesse Evans, Chairman – evans.jesse.accboe@gmail.com – Athens-Clarke County Commission Athens GA 30604
Charles Knapper, Vice Chairman – knappercq@msn.com – Athens-Clarke County Commission Bogart, GA 30622
Patricia A. Till – patricia.till@accgov.com – Republican Committee Winterville, GA 30683
Willa J. Fambrough, Secretary – icook_ieforyou@bellsouth.net – Athens-Clarke County Commission Athens, GA 30605
Mokah-Jasmine Johnson – jasminejohnsonedu@gmail.com – Democratic Committee Athens, GA 30606

Charlotte Sosebee Board of Elections Title: Director of Elections and Voter Registration

Georgia Peanut Gallery Notes are jotted down during Board of Elections (BOE) meetings mostly by volunteers. Meetings move fast and the notes can be rough. We are trying to provide advance notice of what’s happening at Board of Elections around the state. Official County BOE minutes are not always released and can be months after the meetings. Refer to the county website or contact and individual county BOE for official minutes.

Minutes 1-21-20 Athens – Clark County Board of Elections Special Called Meeting

With the exception of Public Comments section, all speakers members of the Board of Elections and the Direct of Elections and Voter Registration

The Board understands it is illegal to change polling locations before the March election. They have a plan for changing polling locations and in the agenda – In agenda, these items were listed as “consider.” Passed out the plan and moved on to the problem of enough electricity at the polling locations.

Meeting Member – Is there someone we can ask about the use of generators for the places that do not have enough electrical outlets?

Meeting Member – It’s a written statute if the system is not functioning the way it should, Plan b is to act as if they are provisional ballots. What we could run into is that we may need the power. It will be discussed tomorrow at State BOE about using paper ballots.

There is a GA state new statute that says the superintendent may use paper ballots if voting is impractical or impossible.

By law we have to use the ballot machines. If the machines aren’t working the way they should, we can use paper ballots. The only way we can use paper ballots is if the machines aren’t working

Meeting Member – only 2 out of 20 of our machines are working sufficiently for the power needed to run machines
18 out of 20 machines aren’t working sufficiently
2 out of 20 polling locations currently meet the 250 rule.
Shouldn’t we consider paper ballots?

Meeting Member – 212300A1 – the equipment used in casting and counting votes shall be the same in county, state, and federal elections. So we have to use the same machines.

Meeting Member – I read that it says that that is a start.

Meeting Member – It’s not for each jurisdiction to determine – if machines are impractical to use. Since we are waiting for the State’s report, we will continue working on Plan B.

Meeting Member – so what can be done before the March election? What’s our deadline for making a decision to go with Plan B for paper ballots?

Meeting Member – I’m not sure. I’ve never seen a situation like this

Meeting Member – what I understand is that the Secretary of Stare determines what we do and who we do. We don’t rise above the Secretary of State and say we don’t think this is going to work in advance. Who makes

If the DRE malfunctions or is not working properly, we issue a paper ballot. The poll workers are trained to issue paper ballots, like if the power goes out. There’s always a plan b if there’s a malfunction with the power. Not to say we can put 10 machines where we only have 5.

Meeting Member – I’m not saying that we should override the state. As opposed to waiting last minute with this electrical problem is 120 poll workers. These are the things I’m concerned about with March around the corner. I’m just saying why don’t we have this backup that we can agree on. It’s been approved by the state.

Meeting Member – it’s already in the statute. We can’t say that all of Clark county is going to use paper ballots. By law, we have to provide the DRE machines. It’s not that you have to implement the plan b, the plan b is already there. By law we can not say that Athens – Clark County will use paper ballots.

Meeting Member – I think you guys are saying something totally different. I don’t think we’re saying that we want to use paper ballots. I think Mocha is saying we need to have a plan in place in case there is a problem. As a board of election member, I don’t want to have it on my shoulders that we don’t have a plan.

Meeting Member – What I’m saying is that there is a plan b in place. We don’t have to create one. Our poll workers are trained on plan b at every elections.

Meeting Member – ….. I’m looking at 2 out of 20 locations and 4 out of 5 advance voting locations that…. that seems pretty impracticable at this time.

Meeting Member – What would your decision be then?

Meeting Member – Use the Cobb plan

Meeting Member – We can’t do that. we can’t use the total amount units for the 250 rule. There’s something I want to put in – there’s been talk of a waiver – based on the 250 rule – do we use active voters
ex – we have a 6000 person polling location do ….

Meeting Member – Should we make a motion that we table this?

Meeting Member – Yes that would be appropriate

Meeting Member – I’m confused – is it either or or is it this or that? I’m thinking we have a plan in place and we need to put back up in place. But I keep hearing

Meeting Member – there are other counties that are not as far along as we are because we have taken the time to have an inspector
We’re going to continue, get direction from State Elections Board tomorrow, and proceed. If there are any problems we will use plan be – paper provisional ballots.

The optical scanner will be used for plan b

Meeting Member – Are there any potential problems with the optical scanner?

Meeting Member – no

Motion made to table the discussion about looking at the polling locations.

Meeting Member – we don’t have anything firm from the secretary of state so we don’t have answers at this time.

Meeting Member – right – if we can look at #27
What steps do we take from here? Feb. 18 and the 25th we need to schedule hearings.
At board meeting on Feb 4, I’ll make the proposal (to change polling locations)
There’s a 60 day timeline we have to adhere to.

It’s legally not possible to make any changes by March – At the presentation Feb. 4 I will have all of the info. for May.

Meeting Member – we are trying to recruit poll workers and about 90 students. You will earn $10 an hour. Starting at age 16 – we are in need of poll workers – we need them as soon as possible.

Meeting Member – what turnout is expected for March?

Meeting Member – We’re preparing for 60%. I looked at all PPP’s since 2008.

Meeting Member – 2018 the merged polling locations were problematic and I’m wondering why we wouldn’t undergo that.

Meeting Member – 2018 was a long ballot with a lot of questions. When they go to the ballot there will only be one question and we will put computer savvy people at the check in to process people quickly. We want to process the voters at check ins as quickly as possible.

Meeting Member – at the library there was a bottleneck and we had to do some paper ballots. Will that be possible with the new system?

Meeting Member – 2018 at our early voting stations it went slowly the first day and we printed the questions for people in advance to end the bottleneck

Public Comment – state name and location – don’t have to live in Clark County to make a public comment

Public hearings need to be 2 weeks prior to March 20th deadline – decision must be made by March 20th –

We’re making decision

Public Comments 3 min.
George B. – I’d…

Jean – I just met with David at the public service comm. They are making changes and there will be another 30 days. I would suggest with no rules and the secret ballot things not solved. They are looking into screens and no decision. …. To me the responsible thing is to go off the grid and run your elections.

Caldwell circle in Athens –
Biggest part of voter suppression is polling location changes. We cannot wait for the state to solve these problems. Come up with a way to solve these problems – like if you get somewhere and your polling place is wrong, you are first in line at the next place.

They get machines on Feb. 3

Emily – I say ditto – I’m sister to last person who spoke

NAACP – I want to ask that you read our info because changing polling locations surpasses the votes
Back to Meeting

Meeting Member– We will have signs up at at the polling locations. You will be surprised how many people at the polling locations don’t know where to go. We will send out voter cards, we will send out a mailer. We are going to go above and beyond what the state says we need to do.

Meeting Member – Do we have email addresses for people?

Meeting Member – The Cobb county plan if there are issues – can we adopt the Cobb county plan b

They made a motion to use the state plan of paper ballots if we can’t use the machines.
Adopt the Cobb County Plan B and

The Cobb County pilot program if there are any issues – that’s what we use as a backup. We know we will go to paper ballots if there is a power problem – I want it to be unified. I want it to be clear that this is the method we will use.

Meeting Member – the state has a plan b for us to use if there is a problem – there is a plan b in the law. Prior to the new machines – we used an envelope. It’s not that I don’t know the process – what do we do if we don’t get our equipment – if the equipment is not working properly –

Meeting Member – I would still like a motion to use the Cobb county pilot program. If there are any issues – it’s already approved. This is what we use if something goes wrong. Thank you for going ahead and taking the extra mile to say this is what we do if issues occur.

Meeting Member – my question is what is the difference between what the state says and what the Cobb plan is.

Meeting Member – I sent everyone the article – about the Cobb county program

Meeting Member – I motion that we stop discussion

Meeting Member – 2 motions on the floor –

All in favor of using Cobb County Plan B – 3 votes – We will use the Cobb County plan –

2nd motion not needed.

Election of officers
Nominate – Jessie Evans – 3 votes for new chairperson
Vice Chair – Charles Knapper –
Secretary – Willa Fambrough
Appoint assistant secretary –
When are recordings available ?

Meeting Member We have a good staff.

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