The Newton County Board of Elections and Registration regular monthly meeting Monday, February 10, 2020, at 4:00 p.m. in the elections office located at 1113 Usher Street, Suite 103, Covington, GA.
All 3 members (Phil Johnson, Kelly Robinson, Dustin Thompson), a staff member of the elections office, first name Angela, and 4 observers were present.
The meeting was called to order by Mr. Johnson. The minutes from the last meeting were unanimously approved without being read. The observers introduced themselves by name.
Angela said deceased voters are being removed from the roles. The agenda called for a list of scheduled hearings for challenged deceased voters to be presented but I didn’t see it. The board members may have already had it.
Angela gave a brief summary of the supervisor’s report. She discussed the new voting machines which have started to arrive.
Poll worker training has started. These cover how to set up and use the voting equipment, how to assist voters and law changes. Separate classes will be held for training with the pads and for managers. They will also have a presentation for the candidates.
The military ballots have been mailed on time. The schedule for advance voting was mentioned as on track.
Financing the equipment was discussed. The estimates are ok but weren’t in time. A grant program will cover the costs for ramps and magnifiers ordered to comply with ADA. The same grant will pay for security cameras to be used where equipment will be left at the polling place the night before the election.
Livingston precinct needs a new location. The church where it has been, which isn’t even in the precinct, wants to stop. Mr. Johnson doesn’t believe there is time to find another location before the primary and it would be confusing to move between then and the runoff. They hope to find a new spot before November. There is another Baptist church that might do or possibly a school. Amanda will check on the timeline requirements for moving a polling location.
Absentee and advance voting poll observers’ names must be submitted by Feb. 28. The parties will be contacted to submit them and to invite representatives to observe the poll worker training that is going on now.
Visitors were asked for questions. One lady heard that in Monroe, where the new equipment was tested in a local election, there was a problem with the screens being inadequate to block the view from behind the voter. Angela says they are aware that the rooms may need to be rearranged to help block visibility. Also, the voter’s body will obscure it.
Ms. Robinson thanked the staff for the extra time and effort they are giving to reach out within the community to explain the new voting process. Angela said they went to the senior center and the clients seemed very accepting of the new equipment. Ms. Robinson also asked whether hand sanitizer will be available. Angela said they had just discussed that and, yes, it will be provided.