The State of Georgia sanctioned Clarke County for violating the uniform voting law after the County voted 3-2 to use hand-marked ballots instead of the ballot-marking machines specified in state law.
For more information check out the Georgia Secretary of State’s website:
BELOW ARE NOTES FROM THE ELECTION BOARD EMERGENCY HEARING:
State of Georgia Election Board Emergency Hearing – Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections and Registration March 11, 2020 10:00am Georgia Center for Continuing Education 1197 South Lumpkin St. Room K-L Athens, GA 30602
On Tues. March 3, the Athens – Clarke County Board of Elections voted to switch to paper ballots from the State’s new voting machines due to privacy concerns.
The State of Georgia’s Election Board held an Emergency Hearing in Athens on 3-11-20 to determine if Athens-Clarke County is violating several laws by not conducting elections on the state’s new voting system.
The following notes were taken contemporaneously during the fast moving hearing as a public service. For official records or questions, refer to the state or county departments.
Notes started with hearing in progress for a short time. Room at capacity and officers let in to standing area as soon as someone exited.
Witness – Chris Harvey
Chris Harvey – There’s a provision in the law that gives the Poll Manager the ability to control the crowds. Elections are supposed to be public, but the poll manager has the right to protect the integrity of the space.
Ryan Germany – Secretary of State Counsel – Are you aware of some locations buying third party materials for privacy such as screens
Chris Harvey – I don’t think there is any GA law against buying additional privacy materials.
State Lawyer – I’m going to show you an example of a third party curtains
Lawyer entered materials about third party curtains as an exhibit. Asked what is the name of the company.
Chris Harvey – Inclusion Solutions – they have been going to counties and showing materials.
State Lawyer – did you communicate on Firefly about Inclusion Solutions
Chris Harvey – I may have listed them as a possible vendor but I don’t remember.
State Lawyer – You don’t have any reason to believe that the Athens – Clarke county Board of Elections was aware of this solution on last Tues.
Chris Harvey – I don’t know
State Lawyer – Do you know whether there is a concern out there about whether curtains keep poll watchers from seeing if people are tampering with the machines.
Chris Harvey – That could be a concern
State Lawyer – is this consistent with state law about the need to observe ballot marking devices to prevent tampering.
Chris Harvey – I don’t know
State Lawyer – Are you saying that Athens Clarke county could have purchased the curtains and had them available by Tues
Chris Harvey – I don’t know
State – new ballot marketing devices – Did the state pay for them
Chris Harvey – yes
State Lawyer – How were they allocated?
Chris Harvey – One for each 250 voters
State Lawyer – how did you decide…
Chris Harvey – wanted…
State Lawyer – when did Athens Clarke county receive their voting machines
Chris Harvey – I don’t know when they got their final shipment – they came at different times.
State Lawyer – As yo sit here today, you do not suggest that Athens Clarke county got their machines…..
Chris Harvey – I don’t know…
Bryan L. Sells Attorney for Athens-Clarke County – have you worked with Charlotte Sosbe?
Chris Harvey – yes
Attorney for County – do you know her to be an experienced election professional
Chris Harvey – very
Attorney for County – Mr. Harvey Are you aware of right to cast a secret ballot, privacy concerns with new ballot marketing devices… What have you done about this
Chris Harvey – we’ve put out materials and communications about this. Election officials generally like to work in standard ways. They have been using in many cases the same equipment, rooms and staff for years. We have stressed that this is a different system nd you can’t use the same systems and places. These machines are similar. I’ve been trying to notify the counties that this is not business as usual. It’s business is similar.
Attorney for County – another attorney questioning at the podium – put up an exhibit – can you explain this
Chris Harvey – It’s a Buzz post – a comments area to get the word out as quickly as possible – Date Feb. 13 of post
Attorney for County – I believe lawyer for Athens – Clarke County What was this post about
Chris Harvey – was about privacy. I said how do people like the new system and how’s it going and some people mentioned concerns about privacy. I had visited about 20 polling places and realized it was a concern in some places, and could be easily fixed by looking at it a little bit differently.
Attorney for County – Did you mean Sumpter County
Chris Harvey – I don’t think I went to Sumpter. It was in SE GA because there were special elections.
Attorney for County – The new ballot devices were used in the special elections and your office became aware of ballot secrecy issues? Did people report issues
Chris Harvey – I don’t think people reported issues, these were my own observations.
When I did the post I did some amateurish graphics for people to get the word out and then the Secretary of State’s office did professional designs.
Attorney for County – Feb. 14, 2020 would have been the first time that counties got information about how to lay out machines to protect privacy, is that correct?
Chris Harvey – We had phone calls
Attorney for County – This was the first time they received actual guidance about how to lay out a precinct to protect privacy?
Chris Harvey – I consider phone calls guidance – this was the first time they received materials
Attorney for County – As you sit here today, can you point to any guidance Athens – Clarke county staff received any guidance about how to lay out precincts to protect privacy
Chris Harvey – I don’t know
Attorney for County – is this a sketch from your office about what to do and what not to do
Chris Harvey – yes – He was asked to explain what was wrong in the example of what not to do.
Attorney for County – Your Buzz post didn’t explain what was wrong in this illustration, you left it up to the readers to understand what was wrong
Chris Harvey – we covered that in phone calls and other means
Attorney for County – went through more illustrations about what not to do with voting machine layouts in precincts and asked for explanations
… This diagram shows how voters may move to get to the ballot marking devices according to the preferred layout. What you’re trying to avoid with arrows is to avoid one voter interfering with another voter…
-Chris Harvey – correct
Attorney for County – SEB0059 –
Chris Harvey – Effective preferred layout. – explained why it’s effective – it’s an alternative way to set up machines.
Attorney for County – you have red arrows showing how voters should get to their voting machine. Does it concerns you that some voters may see what’s going on with other voters?
Chris Harvey – …
Attorney for County – Who did these diagrams?
Chris Harvey – I drew them initially and someone in the office turned sketched them out for us.
– Attorney for County – asked for what was needed in order to vote and how many poll workers
– Chris Harvey went through. You have to have provisional ballot area and scanner. Poll workers – as many as you need. You have areas for poll workers to gather, but most of the poll workers are for standing or moving through the area.
– Attorney for County – what about a place for voters to review their ballots?
– Chris Harvey – there doesn’t have to be a separate area for voters to do that. In many counties they set that up in the booth itself with magnifying glasses. Some have a table or area set up with magnifiers.
– Attorney for County – what else needs to be in the polling place on election day?
– Chris Harvey – a place for people with disabilities though in many cases that may be in the elections booth area as well
– Attorney for County – what about a place to cast a provisional ballot
– Chris Harvey -that must be set up also
– Attorney for County – you mentioned what your office has done to address privacy concerns – what about calls
– Chris Harvey – when we first set up conference calls we did north and south of state
– Attorney for County – do you remember a call from January 10?
– Chris Harvey – Not specifically
– Attorney for County – put up an exhibit to refresh memory on one of those conference calls – Exhibit 82.
Did you recommend that counties not purchase blackout screens because the state was buying them.
– Chris Harvey – I said we are looking into them not buying them.
– Attorney for County – Isn’t January 10 to late to redo polling places by the March elections.
– Chris Harvey – yes
… I never said that we are going to get blackout screens for you.
– Attorney for County – for the record, this note is Exhibit 13 – I may have given the wrong exhibit number, but do you all have it in front of you?
Mr. Harvey – do you keep notes or agendas about what you’re going to talk about on these calls?
– Chris Harvey – The training coordinator made notes. I didn’t make them.
– Attorney for County – Did you have any guidance before January 10 about how to lay out precincts or the need to black out screens.
– Chris Harvey – I never recommended blackout screens – a film that you put on monitors to enable privacy
– Attorney for County – I’m going to show photos – Do you know who took this photo (first photo)?
– Chris Harvey – I do not – when asked he described what the photo was – he was familiar with what was in the photo.
– Attorney for County – Lets go to next page 0094 – Does this appear to be another angle of these machines
– Chris Harvey – yes … when asked is the American Flag providing an additional barrier – he said yes
– Attorney for County – Why would there be a need for another barrier? Answer – don’t know and don’t know why they had that photograph
– Attorney for County – Next photo – There is a person standing in front of a ballot marking device. Appears to be a woman and her head is above the top of the privacy screens – do you see that? Answer – I do
Next photo – virtually same view but with another person. Do you see that this person’s head is above the screen? Answer – I do. Do you see anything unusual about the table in the photo? Answer – no Do these tables look low? Answer – in the photo they do appear to be a little bit low. I don’t know, I’m not a table expert.
– Attorney for County – Let’s go back to 0094 where we saw the partition. Do they look low too?
Let’s go to SEB0012. Do you recognize this photo. Answer – I don’t know where it is, but I recognize what it shows.
Attorney for County – what does it show?
– Chris Harvey – Appears to show a person standing at a ballot marking device and presumably voting or marking at a ballot marking device.
– Attorney for County – does this look like an illustration of what not to do?
– Chris Harvey – it’s hard to tell from the perspective.
– Attorney for County – showed another perspective and asked if looked like an example of what not to do (not exact words).
Shift to a different topic – this idea of a uniform voting system. As you’ve mentioned, there have been a number of tests of the system for the special election.
– Chris Harvey – in Cobb county they did some testing of hand marked paper ballots for those elections
– Attorney for County – The Cobb county pilot used the system with the exception of the touch screen. Answer – they used the scanners
– so Cobb didn’t use an alternate system they used the same equipment
– Answer – C. Harvey – it was court ordered. They didn’t have a say
– Attorney for County – did your office prepare a report summarizing the results of the Cobb pilot program
Put up on the screen exhibit 51 – First page – executive summary – New GA statewide voting system
– Chris Harvey – it’s a summary of the initial findings of the pilot. Our office compiled it. I didn’t compile it. I read when came out and have not read recently.
– Attorney for County- blow up the bottom of the page – See sentence – Cobb county volunteers shall conduct a pilot of the new system except using hand marked paper ballots. Use the rest of the equipment. (not exact).
You agree that Cobb County used the system that the State of Georgia requires?
– Chris Harvey – yes
New witness – Francis Watson
– Francis Watson – Chief Investigator for the State. Describe – we have investigators in the state in the field to check for issues with polling locations – are there any obvious issues taking place. They speak with poll workers.
In answer to questions – they are asking managers if any complaints. They are observing voters for issues with voting secrecy.
State Lawyer – do you recognize the photos from Chris Harvey as from your office
– Francis Watson – I do
The State Lawyer Showed more photos to see if were ones her investigators took – yes – entered as evidence as one exhibit
There was an issue in South Georgia with screens. I spoke with Deputy Director. They spoke with the county about repositioning the machines.
– State Lawyer – were there any other issues with machines.
– Francis Watson – no
– Bryan L. Sells Attorney for Athens-Clarke County – Tell me about the process of investigators showing you the photos
– Francis Watson – some text by phone and some wait until get back to office and email
– Attorney for County – about a photo – does this particular photo show any issues with ballot secrecy? He zoomed in and asked if any issues with ballot secrecy.
– Francis Watson – I can’t see in the photo
New Witness – Tom F. – Dominion Voting
– State Lawyer – are you familiar with the equipment GA is implementing Answer – yes
Is it your understanding that the touchscreen – if there is something they don’t recognize, will they prompt for a poll watcher to come over?
– Tom F. – Answer – yes. If anything is changed for example on the USB port, the machine is disabled until a poll worker comes and addresses the issue by a poll worker
Are these machines used elsewhere – Answer – yes in Pennsylvania.
– State Lawyer – are you familiar with issues with voter secrecy or privacy
– Tom F. – I have not experienced them in other states
… We did not give specific information on layout because each place is different
– Attorney for County – do you know if other states who use equipment have the same constitutional right to privacy as Georgia does
– Tom F. – I don’t know
New Witness Melanie Frechette Business Analyst – Office of Commissioner of Insurance of Georgia
– Melanie Frechette – Analyst for Commissioner of ? and Fire Safety for State of GA – I was hired as training administrations 2018-2020. In 2010 I was employed by Gwinnett Co. Voter Elections office and then went to Hall County before becoming training administrator
I was involved when Dominion began their training. When questions came up they would be referred to me. The counties were advised to set up their machines. I answered a lot of phone calls including pilot phone calls.
**Note – had a little trouble figuring out which lawyer speaking during Melanie Frechette
– State Lawyer – do you believe that it is possible for counties to use the new equipment
– Melanie Frechette – it is possible
– Lawyer – Have you worked with Charlotte Sosbe. Do you know her to be an experienced professional?
– Melanie Frechette – absolutely. I also worked with her in Hall
– Attorney for County – can you give me a ball park estimate of how many ballot marking devices you could put in this room?
– Melanie Frechette – I don’t know
– Attorney for County – could you put 800 ballot marking devices in this room and comply with state’s privacy
Asked another question that he said spoke to her expertise – seemed a little antagonistic
– Melanie Frechette – don’t feel comfortable with question
– Attorney for County – you said you were an elections official in the state.
Melanie Frechette – I was an official in Gwinnett.
Lawyer – have you ever been to Athens – Clarke county –
Answer I visited when a friend voted
12:12pm break to 1:00pm –
New Witness – Charlotte Sosebee Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections Title: Director of Elections and Voter Registration
Charlotte Sosebee – Received new equipment Feb. 3. We received our demo equip. early December 2019. Black woman
Charlene McGowan Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Government Services and Employment Division
Charlotte Sosebee – t’s a document I sent to our Supervisor. 298 was our initial allotment and received less –
Assistant Attorney General – you were allocated $1,039,000 from the state. Where are the ballot marking devices now.
Charlotte Sosebee – in a warehouse
Assistant Attorney General – did you buy anything in addition
Charlotte Sosebee – We purchased five booths offered by Inclusion Solution and some toner
Assistant Attorney General – did you also order paper ballots for the Presidential Preference Primary
Charlotte Sosebee – yes early Jan. and then I made a second order for 10% as authorized by state law. When I thought we might be going to paper ballots, I made another order sometime in Feb. – mid-Feb.
Assistant Attorney General – did you make the last order before the Board decided on March 3 and how many did you order
Charlotte Sosebee – Yes, I ordered enough for 100%
Assistant Attorney General – did you attend training on the new ballot market devices
Charlotte Sosebee – Yes. I went to the first one. Only 3 people per county were allowed. Staff went to later trainings.
Assistant Attorney Generalt – Did you look at layouts or have an opportunity to review regarding voter privacy
Charlotte Sosebee – yes – she also went to the online Buzz forum.
Assistant Attorney General – As a Director, do you consider yourself familiar with Athens Clarke County polling locations and did you develop layouts
Charlotte Sosebee – Yes – based upon drawings I received from staff about each room, I took the two layouts provided by State and decided how to layout the polling location.
Assistant Attorney General – Did you have all locations layed out by March 3?
Charlotte Sosebee – I did these two.
Assistant Attorney General – Showed a document – is this a report you gave to the Athens Clarke County
Charlotte Sosebee – yes This layout worked when I had space issues
Assistant Attorney General – Is it your opinion that this particular layout would work
Charlotte Sosebee – Not specifically. I was trying to show how things would be turned
Assistant Attorney General – Your plan was in these particular precincts, the booths would be turned towards the wall
Charlotte Sosebee – yes
Assistant Attorney General – Did you express to the Baord that privacy could be preserved with these layouts?
Charlotte Sosebee – yes
Assistant Attorney General – what are these photos –
Charlotte Sosebee – First day of voting in Athens Clarke County –
Question – this is the fist advance voting location
Answer – yes the first and only
Assistant Attorney General – Were these curtains up?
Charlotte Sosebee – Yes
Assistant Attorney General – was that done to protect voter privacy – Answer – yes
Assistant Attorney General – have any of the Athens Clarke county Board of Elections visited the precincts with you?
Charlotte Sosebee – In 2018 election one person visited with me
Assistant Attorney General – No visits with you for the upcoming Presidential Primary
Charlotte Sosebee – no
Assistant Attorney General – a document on page 22 to page 50 – Define these documents
Charlotte Sosebee – These are documents I received this week from one of my area managers and provides dimensions of rooms and how we would lay out each polling location. Shows ballot marking devices, magnifiers, poll checkers, ballot boxes and more for polling day of Athens – Clarke County
Assistant Attorney General – These have a date of March 1
Charlotte Sosebee – I believe so. I didn’t receive until this week, but I imagine they were. I was grateful to have this resource.
Assistant Attorney General – would it be fair to say that you knew these precinct layout sketches were being done – Answer – yes
Did you inform the board the sketches were being done – Answer – I didn’t. I know that on election day there were a lot of things that must be done.
Assistant Attorney General – You felt confident on March 3 that you could put a reasonable plan in place
Charlotte Sosebee – yes
Assistant Attorney General – On March 3, early voting had already started
Charlotte Sosebee – yes
Assistant Attorney General – How many ballots had been made
Charlotte Sosebee – about 500. In response – I was told by Board that all votes would be counted.
Assistant Attorney General – For the voters that voted on March 2 or 3 did you have any complaints
Charlotte Sosebee – No. I didn’t receive any complaints
Assistant Attorney General – Did you receive guidance from the state about when’s it’s permissible to use paper ballots
Charlotte Sosebee – My experience is that paper ballots were for emergencies. I knew from searching the code – my work bible, that that was permissible.
Assistant Attorney General – documents 176 and 177 – Does this look familiar? Answer – yes. On page 177 it talks about using emergency paper ballots and talks about power outages, wait times longer than 30 minutes …. Did any of those issues occur on March 2 or 3?
Charlotte Sosebee- no
Assistant Attorney General – What will it entail now…
Charlotte Sosebee – We will do a walk through with poll managers which will incorporate a secrecy folder. They will receive more paper ballots. There will be a change in training and delivery. More ballot pens. Probably how to set up their polling locations. There won’t be as many roaming poll workers than needed with voting machines. We would have to make sure managers are aware of the process and able to script the process with their workers.
Assistant Attorney General – no further questions
Attorney for County #2
Thomas M. Mitchell – Carothers and Mitchell, LLC – Attorney for Athens – Clarke County Board of Elections – Have you been to all precinct locations since early Feb?
Charlotte Sosebee – I have not been to all of them.
Attorney for County #2 – So you relied on others – who?
Charlotte Sosebee – 2 members of my staff who used to be poll workers and a Facility Director from Athens – Clarke County
Attorney for County #2 – Did you purchase any other equipment
Charlotte Sosebee – booths from Inclusion Solutions though we chose not to include the curtains
Attorney for County #2 – With regard to paper ballots, you still have the optical scanner?
Charlotte Sosebee – Yes
Attorney for County #2 – Lets go back to when you first learned about upcoming changes to voting requirements
Charlotte Sosebee- 2017 I attended a Federal conference and had a chance to see other vote systems. I didn’t know about Dominion, but I was very familiar with ESS – what we used at the time
Attorney for County #2 – When did you learn about the new voting systems.
Charlotte Sosebee – August 2019 when we learned that Dominon was going to be the vendor of choice, I was at a conference and knew it was my job to become familiar with the system. They had it set up on a nice blue booth. I got to see the ballot market devices set in that blue booth
Attorney for County #2 – New document 3rd page – the fourth block from bottom – can you identify document
Charlotte Sosebee – regional conference call 1-10-20.
Attorney for County #2 – How did you get access
Charlotte Sosebee – I can access on Firefly
Attorney for County #2 – When this conference call took place, had you gotten the privacy screens yet?
Charlotte Sosebee – No. There had been no discussion of privacy yet.
Attorney for County #2 – Were you told there would be privacy screens provided
Charlotte Sosebee – He didn’t indicate that. My thought was that they may give us directions about whether they could be used or not.?State Attorney – when you talk about blackout screens – are you talking about a film that would go over the screens?
Attorney for County #2 – yes
Attorney for County #2 – Can you identify this document –
Charlotte Sosebee – an email thread with my Elections Assistant – there’s draft of an email where we’re taking about space issues on 1-23-20.
Attorney for County #2 – Had your staff done measurements at this time
Charlotte Sosebee – I don’t believe we’d done measurements.
Question answer: I had concerns about space.
Attorney for County #2 – New document identify
Charlotte Sosebee – Email sent from Jesse Evans our ACC Board Chair asking for more information about the Cobb County pilot program and a list of what we would need to carry out this plan dated 1-23-20.
Attorney for County #2 – New document identity
Charlotte Sosebee – Email from Chairman Evans – recalling the votes from Feb. meeting about un-merging process.
Attorney for County #2 – tell me about
Charlotte Sosebee – we had some precincts merged in past election and I had brought to the board the potential to undergo these precincts and Mr. Evans asked to include electrical capacity, delivery plan, getting an update on polling locations, turnout projections, 2018 voting machines that had been quarantined…
… this was a good time to un-merge the precincts that had caused long lines
Attorney for County #2 – new document
Charlotte Sosebee – email from Chairman Evans 1-30-20 discussing ballot privacy and that the screen allows people to see the screens at a distance. What methods do we plan to use in Athens Clarke county to ensure the secrecy of the ballots. I should email a description of options and include images and descriptions of the plan we intend to use.
Attorney for County #2 – Exhibit 10 – Identify document
Charlotte Sosebee – email through between Chris Harvey and I about how creative my staff had been trying to come up with a solution to privacy. We had considered laying ballot marking devices on the table. Chris responded he didn’t think was a good idea. He mentioned how Dekalb County had turned their ballot marking devices around to address problem.
Attorney for County #2 – why did you not use…
Charlotte Sosebee – the color – I try to stay away from red and blue
Attorney for County #2 – …Do you have issues with these kinds of things with Athens Clarke County Board
Charlotte Sosebee yes I have
Attorney for County #2 – new document – can you identify
Charlotte Sosebee – For every election I create this kind of layout. It’s very useful.
Attorney for County #2 – Lets walk through
Charlotte Sosebee – so for Winterville – I figure the percentage of people I think will vote and use that to figure supplies – using active voters. ?Quest What’s at bottom Answer – advance voting locations
Attorney for County #2 – When did you create this document
Charlotte Sosebee – early Jan but i change it often – working document – I update date when I save it
Attorney for County #2 – Exhibit 17 – pages 105 to 107 – this bulk exhibit – what is it
Charlotte Sosebee – sketches I received prior to March 3 board meeting. ?Quest – when did you receive – Answer – I got about 20 of them over a period of weeks – scale drawings with dimensions of locations.?Quest – who did sketches – Ans. Laney, China Blake – i was at early voting site when Chna did sketch
Attorney for County #2 – last couple of pages 0051 – what is it
Charlotte Sosebee – for March 3 meeting – was used to determine unmarking of precincts and layout of polling locations?…..
Attorney for County #2 – document 8 pages in – what are they
Charlotte Sosebee – date 3-9-20 email from L. Lazar – used a program called Chief Architect. First election had her do the scale drawings because the systems had changed to new ballot marking devices
Attorney for County #2 – new document diagram – What precinct
Charlotte Sosebee – Waterville train depot location –
Attorney for County #2 – the way the booths are set up is that consistent with the Secretary of States sketches
Charlotte Sosebee – The Secretary of States sketches did not include magnifiers staton or Americans with Disabilities…?Some discussion of differences between Athens Clark County and Secretary of State’s sketches.?Our poll workers are told to control the crowd, the process – don’t want voters crossing each other. Only voters assigned a card would be there.?Discussion of other small problem locations –
Attorney for County #2 – Are these final drawings?
Charlotte Sosebee – They are not – next week we will meet.
Attorney for County #2 – How long ….
Charlotte Sosebee – we’ve been thinking about since Jan. when we had one ballot marking device and then later when got a booth we used those to work on the planning.
Talked about more setting up to give privacy and how long it took
Attorney for County #2 – Photo of setup showed and document – what is it
Charlotte Sosebee – Polling location inspection report provided by Secretary of State to survey our locations. Area managers conduct surveys. This document looks like an inspection for once voting is set up. Secretary of State’s office will send someone out, but I have my polling managers conduct them as well.
Attorney for County #2 – Exhibits 54-70 agendas pg 59 – why is it stamped approved
Charlotte Sosebee – Since Jan 2020 not all of minutes have been approved by board. Clerk took minutes. When Board elected new officers, the new Secretary was to take minutes. I asked for Assistant Secretary to do so we would be compliant with Open Records Act.
Attorney for County #2 – New document – identify
Charlotte Sosebee – One is a document I used as a presentation to the board prior to hearings. During hearings on Feb. 19 and 25 – documents used.
New Witness – Lisa McGlaun, Elections Assistant, Athens – Clarke County Board of Elections
Lisa McGlaun – Exhibit 14 is a demonstration we did at Athens Career Academy and another photo of demonstration
Attorney for County #2 – Exhibit One – What did you do in preparation for new machines with Dominion
Lisa McGlaun – went to training and worked on how to implement
Attorney for County #2 – What else did you find in training
Lisa McGlaun – There would be electrical issues
Attorney for County #2 – New document – what
Lisa McGlaun – email sent to Scott Tucker about electrical issues on 13th. In fairness, this was not under Scott’s purview and he was trying to help me. I didn’t know what all he would be charged with doing. ?We were with him at every location. ?After learning more with surveyor that came out – I learned more that there were not enough circuits or outlets in the buildings about a week before Christmas.
Attorney for County #2 – Did you have scale drawings before electrical work?
Lisa McGlaun – No. The locations were very gracious. There were a lot of outlets but not enough circuits. I asked for more circuits and they did.
Attorney for County #2 – Have you gone over most recent scale drawings.
Lisa McGlaun – yes. The drawings are not final. Once we get to the spaces, I believe we will make changes.
Attorney for County #2 – New document – describe
Lisa McGlaun – email to Facilities Management Department –
Attorney for County #2 – Exhibit 33 – identify 6 page document
Lisa McGlaun – The packing slip from truck driver when received our first delivery – EMS system, ballot on demand printer and ICC. Response to questions – we took a deep breath and figured out how to unload and set up
Attorney for County #2 – Exhibit 13? pages 2-85 – Identify
Lisa McGlaun – Handwritten notes I took – from a conference call on January 10. ?Quest – who made comment Answer – I don’t know?Quest – do not buy yet hold off – who made comment? Answer – black out screens – we thought we should not buy yet because the state may buy them.
Attorney for County #2 – New document – notes – what is it
Lisa McGlaun – 10-17-19 notes from call. Mr. Harvey was on every call that I’ve been on. talked about barriers and more – notes to self or secretary of state’s office – webinar before we started Friday calls – a regional thing
Attorney for County #2 – New document – what is it
Lisa McGlaun – 2-13-20 webinar with Mr. Harvey – when he presented the layout documents of what would be a good layout and what would not. First time I saw them. I wrote down notes from the words of the speaker on the call teaching us.
Attorney for County #2 – New document – notes – what is it
Lisa McGlaun – blond – another call – the topic came up again and we discussed
Attorney for County #2 – does Athens Clarke county own the tables that are used
Lisa McGlaun – we own 30 and are going to rent the rest. 6 foot and 8 foot tables
Attorney for County #2 – New document – Exhibit 20 140-143 – what is it
Lisa McGlaun – email to Dexter Fisher – my contact at Clarke County school district. Spreadsheet attached to email – I prepared. It tells Mr. Fisher the locations I wanted him to have his electrician to look at. Six places that are potential problems.
Attorney for County #2 – New document – what is it
Lisa McGlaun – spreadsheet I developed for Athens Clark county electrician. Issues – we had not received some info from inspector – it was from what I got when went with our surveyor
?Next Witness – Lanie Lessard, Elections Clerk Athens-Clarke County
Attorney for County #2 – who your are, what you do
Lanie Lessard Elections Clerk Athens – monitor, maintain machines, and more – been on staff about 6 years. Before that a poll worker and poling manager.
Attorney for County #2 – Are precincts the same now as when you were a poll worker
Lanie Lessard – I think many are, I wasn’t concerned with all the locations.?Answer – I’ve been going to locations?Quest – Role with polling locations?Answer – now to make sure machines are hooked up to right receptacles so not upsetting the system. I’ve been working on CAD drawings. ?Quest – did you do scale drawings in past?Answer – I did with my precinct but not all. This is first time I’ve done all?Quest – what is your background?Answer – I’m an interior designer – have access to design software
Attorney for County #2 – New document email
Lanie Lessard – Laney Lessard (sp?) Elections Clerk Athens – Date – 3-9-20.
Attorney for County #2 – Did you have these drawing in this form prior to email
Lanie Lessard – Laney Lessard (sp?) Elections Clerk Athens – I had rough hand sketches
Attorney for County #2 – Have you made changes to scale drawings since that date?
Lanie Lessard – Laney Lessard (sp?) Elections Clerk Athens – on paper but not on CAD drawings. Has been back to locations since electrical work done.
Attorney for County #2 – ACCBRE 31 – smaller site drawing – once go through this one – will talk about others
Lanie Lessard – Laney Lessard (sp?) Elections Clerk Athens – notes in margins are dimensions, electrical info noted, began making each circuit a different color, noted receptacle numbers and breaker numbers, noted traffic patterns – traffic flow, separating enclosed space from more public space, magnifier stations marked in each location in enclosed space because can’t take ballot outside of enclosed space. Each table has managers table and provisional table. Tables represent check in stations. Also have a sticker table. Three are 10 assigned poll workers including the manager.
Attorney for County #2 – You’re supposed to have 10 workers per location In Winterville – it appears that there are 8
Lanie Lessard – when looking at drawing – yes 8 – these are works in progress?More discussion about outlets and configurations and exhibits. including transit center – includes photos?Question – when do you plan on finalizing the scale drawings? Answer – between now and Wed.
Next Witness – Laura C. lives in Clarke County – early voter on March 2 –
Bryan L. Sells Attorney for Athens-Clarke County – asked about early voting experience
Laura C. – early voter on March 2 – I was surprised there was no privacy curtain. There was some separation but it didn’t feel private.
Attorney for County – Did you feel that there was enough privacy – Would people have had to walk behind you to vote an another machine?
Laura C.- My first thought was it’s not very private
Ryan Germany – Secretary of State Counsel, State Lawyer – was there anyone walking behind you when you voted? Ans – no . You were concerned that privacy issues could happen?
Laura C.- early voter on March 2 – It felt like if someone had wanted to see what I was doing they could have but I don’t know if anyone did.
Next Witness – Ann Marie Zimeri – lives in Athens Clark as a registered voter and cast ballot on Tues 3-24-20
Attorney for County – asked who she is and when voted and concerns
Ann Marie Zimeri – lives in Athens Clark as a registered voter and cast ballot on Tues 3-24-20. I wasn’t concerned about my ballot on that day because I early voted and not many people there. It’s very clear to read from a distance what vote you cast. If I had walked past a booth I would have been able to see it and the poll workers could have seen it.
Attorney for County – Did your booth have plastic privacy screens and could you have seen another’s vote
Ann Marie Zimeri – No and I was concerned someone could have seen it
State Lawyer – did anyone walk behind you
Ann Marie Zimeri – no
Next Witness Jesse Evans – Chair of Athens Clarke County Board of Electons
Jesse Evans – Chair of Athens Clarke County BOE – talked about bringing up privacy issues with new voting machines repeatedly
Bryan L. Sells Attorney for Athens-Clarke County, Attorney for County – new document – can you…
Jesse Evans – Chair of Athens Clarke County BOE – letter from Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, NAACP, and People’s Agenda – ?Quest – did the Board discuss?Jesse Evans – Yes – These three organizations were concerned that we were looking at unmarking polling locations for the Presidential Preference Primary in March and they said they didn’t want us to and there wasn’t enough time to legally do this. The Board was advised by stuff that we needed to comply with this.
**NOTE – A few questions and answers I didn’t get
Questions – did the Board raise privacy issues with staff Answer – yes
Attorney for County – Exhibit 9 – what is it
Jesse Evans – Email to Director Sosebee – and to local staff and attorney – dated Jan. 3, 2020 – we had discussed ballot privacy before this email.
Attorney for County – had you discussed privacy in addition to this email
Jesse Evans – members of the public on Feb. 4 came and spoke about ballot privacy and we asked the staff for scale drawings. He spoke about their concerns about ballot secrecy and discussions with staff and the public
Attorney for County – how did you become aware of requirements
Jesse Evans – the staff – the required number of units per polling location
Attorney for County – Exhibit 71 – 0477 Describe
Jesse Evans – discusses the number of machines required per person per location
Attorney for County – did you show up on first day of advance voting on election day?
Jesse Evans – I did – Going to polling locations is something I did as a board member.
Attorney for County – describe what you saw on first day
Jesse Evans – I saw the booths lined up. Jesse Evans described the setup. He talked to staff about how it was going. He could see the screen of the voting machine through the sliding glass window, which is a violation of the ballot to me. He was about about 6 feet away. I was right by the desk where staff members sit. ?Question – was there a voter at the machine when you were looking at it.?Answer – no?Question – if there had been a voter there, could you have seen the screen?Answer – yes – No one is supposed to see who you are selecting on your ballot. Also there were people there troubleshooting issues with staff, so there were members of the public there. Ballot secrecy is ballot secrecy and no one is supposed to see that.
Attorney for County – use a laser printer and show what you saw on this photo
Jesse Evans – using the laser pointer – showed the booth where he saw the ballot through the window.
Attorney for County – – how did your experience on advance voting impact your concerns about privacy?
Jesse Evans – the staff assured us there would be no privacy concerns on voting day. When I showed up on the first day of Advance Voting, there were ballot secrecy concerns and we needed to act to stop this from happening at this location and at other locations for early voting.
Attorney for County – there were 10 machines allocated and 8 deployed
Jesse Evans – yes – that was another concern as well as ballot secrecy. In the Feb. 25 meetings about unmarking, we again asked for scale drawings and they were never provided. We looked at the two diagrams supplied by the Secretary of States office and as a board we felt there was no way to guarantee ballot secrecy. We voted to go with the Cobb County pilot to guarantee ballot secrecy.
Attorney for County – On the March 3 meeting why weren’t the drawings you had enough to meet the requirements for ballot secrecy.
Jesse Evans – When discussing those 2 diagrams (from Secretary of State) there was a lot of uncertainty about where everything would be and there were missing items.
Attorney for County – by the first day of early voting there were no drawings showing how ballot secrecy would be provided
Jesse Evans – we had not seen the drawings from the staff including hand drawings that the staff had at that point.
Attorney for County – since you received the notice of their emergency meeting, you’ve seen the diagrams
Jesse Evans – Yes we saw them over the weekend. They were problematic. I went over all of them line by line. 3-4 had the number of voting booths set up on the diagram that are required by law out of 20.
Attorney for County – were any of these consistent with the two diagrams provided by the state?
Jesse Evans – no – I didn’t see the drawings complying with the diagrams
Attorney for County – Do you continue to have concerns about ballot secrecy in Clarke County
Jesse Evans – I do. At this point I don’t feel we can meet the three conditions: 1 in 250, absolute ballot secrecy and monitoring
Attorney for County – If you saw diagrams that met the criteria
Jesse Evans – If I saw that in diagrams that meet all three criteria, there would be no reason not to use the state’s machines. I would vote for that.
Attorney for County – As of today, you have not seen that evidence
Jesse Evans – correct. The diagrams that I’ve seen have not met the state’s guidelines and the conditions required by law.
Charlene McGowan Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Government Services and Employment Division
Assistant Attorney General – March 3 meeting – didn’t the Elections Supervisor say that she could achieve privacy by turing the machines?
Jesse Evans – I did not believe they would assure ballot secrecy. I had personally been to the locations from the two diagrams and the diagrams were problematic
Assistant Attorney General – you said you asked for scale drawings, and your testimony was that you were not given those by March 3.
Jesse Evans – we had not been given them
Assistant Attorney General – why didn’t you wait
Jesse Evans – we were already violating ballot secrecy at the early voting location. We trusted staff with that location, and it was violated. I was skeptical of the locations of what staff had told us about their concerns. We needed evidence.
Assistant Attorney General – is it your testimony today that you lost all confidence in your staff because of the issues with one advance voting location
Jesse Evans – No – there were other previous issues with staff
Quest? Answer – this was the last meeting while early voting was going on and we needed to act to ensure ballot secrecy?Jesse Evans – you said I decided something and I alone didn’t decide anything. I was one of three board members of a five member board that voted and I didn’t make the motion
Assistant Attorney General – Exhibit of photo discussed of Jesse Evans’s experience at the advance voting location on voting day – Do voters go back there?
Jesse Evans – yes . I went after I got off of work. I went through the door and there were two members of the public there where they could see through the window – one of our commissioners and a man sitting and talking to a poll worker.
Assistant Attorney General – couldn’t the staff prevent people from being in that space
Jesse Evans – the door is locked – Yes, you can prevent people from going through the door. It is my experience that voters go through the door when they have issues.
Assistant Attorney General – couldn’t the window be covered up. Answer Yes. Question – did you go to any other locations?
Jesse Evans – yes – I’m using my own experience to base my decisions
Assistant Attorney General – Even though the staff assured you they could achieve ballot security, you assumed they couldn’t is that correct?
Jesse Evans – yes
Assistant Attorney General – did you speak with the county attorney about moving to hand marked paper ballots? Jesse – no.?Assistant Attorney General – In fact the county attorney advised you not to move to hand marked paper ballots?Jesse Evans – he said that if we did this it would be challenged?Assistant Attorney General – did the county attorney tell you about the lawsuit in Sumpter County?Jesse Evans – yes – have seen the documents?Assistant Attorney General – what is your understanding about that case?Jesse Evans – Sumpter County wanted to use paper ballots. Judge said it was up to the Board to protect ballot secrecy and monitor
Assistant Attorney General – I’ve handed you a copy of the Sumpter County order is that the one you reviewed.
Jesse Evans – I believe so. I’ve looked at a lot of documents.
Assistant Attorney General – put it in as an exhibit. Did you seek out the county attorney about ballot secrecy.
Jesse Evans – as a board we sought out the county attorney.
Assistant Attorney General – did you get a determination
Jesse Evans – no. I’ve seen the statute myself. I read it and showed to my board member in advance of vote on March 3
Assistant Attorney General – the vote that occurred on March 3 where the board approved hand marked paper ballots was that for the Presidential Preference Primary or for all elections this year??Answer – just for Presidential Preference Primary?Attorney – will use approve use of voting machines for the next election??Jesse Evans – if we can be provided evidence that all of the required conditions are met, we would probably vote to continue with machines. There is probably enough time to do this.
Assistant Attorney General – if the polling places are unmarked, you feel that that will provide ballot secrecy.
Jesse Evans – in order to know if it’s possible we need to see scale diagrams showing
Assistant Attorney General – female – The board voted to enact plan b….. You understand Plan B to be to move to hand marked paper ballots
Jesse Evans – We wanted to use the plan that Cobb county piloted to use as our backup plan if it became impossible to continue with the voting machines.
Assistant Attorney General – the Cobb County Pilot plan you refer to – you understand that was a court order? Answer Yes I don’t recall the County Attorney telling me we couldn’t use it. Did you seek out the county attorney to see if it was legal to use the Cobb Plan B program? ?Jesse Evans – the county attorney is present at our meetings and tells us when there is an issue with something.
Assistant Attorney General – female – do you plan to install curtains?
Jesse Evans – from Sumpter County – curtains wouldn’t allow monitoring o the machines.
Assistant Attorney General – are you aware there is a provision that allows privacy screens and would you say you didn’t ask for advice about using privacy screens prior to voting to move to hand marked paper ballots on March 3?
Jesse Evans – no
Questions from State Election Board Members
David Worley – in regard to going on March 2 and seeing problems with privacy. You said – we have to stop violations right now.?Jesse Evans – I said that at the Board Meeting on March 3?David Worley- So you didn’t stop it on March 2??Jesse Evans – My experience with staff is that my concerns can be dismissed. We already had tensions with the staff behaving in unprofessional ways about this issue.?David Worley – so on March 2, did you say anything to staff like – you need to stop this??Jesse Evans – no. There were staff members standing to the left and behind there – showing on the photo – pointed out tampering issues and inability to monitor – ?David Worley – is your issues with tampering or monitoring issues in the minutes??Jesse Evans – it’s in the recordings. We’ve had issues with the minutes not being verbatim
Anh Le – the machines are side by side in the photo and is that the same as it’s been in the four years you’ve been there?
Jesse Evans – these machines are bigger and brighter than the old ones and you could move them. The DRE’s (old machines) were a very different system and experience – the machines were smaller and not as bright and you could turn them.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger – why didn’t you grab a worker and tell them your concerns about the machines
Jesse Evans – in a public meeting the staff behaves one way then as an individual and I felt more comfortable addressing it at the board meeting.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger – at the March 3 meeting – was there a recording of the meeting? Is there a transcript of that meeting? You stated that the county attorney didn’t give you advice.
Jesse Evans – The county attorney never gave a decision that is wasn’t practical.
Assistant Attorney General – there is a recording.
Jesse Evans – Back in Nov. 2018 – our county attorney was giving our board very bad legal advice – With all due respect to county attorneys, they are there to advise. We made the decision to do a re-canvass when our county attorney advised us against, which was the wrong decision.
David Worley – you said you weren’t comfortable taking your concerns to the staff. (Jesse Evans By myself in that moment) Board Member – Wouldn’t it have been better to talk with the board and talk to staff rather than changing voting for the entire county.
Jesse Evans – it wasn’t just seeing through the window, there were other concerns about voting secrecy, one machine for 250 voters…
David Worley – and on March 3, you didn’t try to work with staff to reconfigure things. You haven’t configured it properly and what can you do at the Board of Elections office to fix this. Did you ask them to change their configuration?
Jesse Evans – at the meeting at that moment we didn’t
David Worley – can we enter the recordings into evidence?
Anh Le – You say you don’t have a lot of faith in your staff or your board attorneys either. So what will the board do moiving forward?
Jesse Evans – we ask staff for scale diagrams so we can rely on actual evidence versus we’ll do our best. The attorney – the board is the decision making body – we ask for advice from the attorney and then the board makes the decision including the county attorney
Closing comments –
Charlene McGowan Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Government Services and Employment Division
Assistant Attorney General – Thank you board – Georgia’s election code says that all counties must use the ballot marking devices. Athens Clarke county has received over $1 million of equipment. Privacy is important, but you can’t scrap the system. The State has provided manuals, diagrams, solution over the phone. The Elections Supervisor created a privacy plan ignored by the board. You must use the equipment unless it is impossible or impracticable – which means it doesn’t work. To say it is impracticable means it cannot be done. From the Chairman’s testimony – the board went forward with a hasty vote and didn’t wait for diagrams from the staff. The county attorney talked about Sumpter County hearing. I was present at that vote in Sumpter County. The Superior Court Judge voted against using paper ballots for voter privacy issues. It’s also important to note that in addition to tilting screens or using curtains, any voter in GA can request a paper ballot if they have privacy concerns. The Cobb County pilot program was to determine emergency procedures not to put in place of voting machines. The code in GA requires that all counties in GA use the voting machines. The Board can authorize Athens Clarke County to cease and desist, to pay for the costs to defend this code which are considerable, and to pay $5000 per violation which can be each paper ballot or each day that the code is violated. In addition, we believe there have been violations of additional rules.
Bryan L. Sells Attorney for Athens-Clarke County – thank you to the board. I want to respond to the other attorney. She stated that the law allows for paper ballots in emergency. The use of paper ballots if the machines are impossible or impracticable. 1997 option of Attorney General – Michael Bowers – An issue with ballot being too long to fit on the machine at the time. It’s clear that this fail safe can apply for issues besides power outage or machine malfunction. It also applies if the line is over 30 minutes. 21-2-234 The board relied on.?Ms. Bowers said voter privacy is not a reason to move to hand marked paper ballots. It is a duty of county election board to ensure privacy. The BNB’s can never be used…. We couldn’t fit enough machines in the space allowed to ensure ballot secrecy. The sketches we have seen looked more like Mr. Harvey’s sketches of what not to do versus what to do. You can’t fit enough machines into the space required to meet Mr. Harvey’s requirements. This is not about other counties, it’s what polling places we’re stuck with for the March primary. We can make changes for subsequent elections and the board indicated they would do that.
Mr. McGowan said this was not a hasty decision. The board had asked about it repeatedly for months. The board did not receive those drawings and given the information they had, they made a perfectly reasonable decision. It may not be what the State Election Board would make or what a county would make, but it applies to this county in this instance. …. I will close where I began that this board remains open minded to work with staff and the Secretary of State’s office that works for Clarke County and ballot secrecy and the number of voting booths and the required prescription for changing polling places. We can’t change polling places before the Presidential Primary, but are willing to work in other ways. The State has the ability to make diagrams. Voter privacy and secrecy is important to the board moving forward. Based upon the evidence in front of you, the board did it’s level best to ensure voter privacy
Anh Le – what I heard today with Clarke County is very concerning. It seems to be a disconnect between eh board and staff. You have to find a better way to communicate. What I got today, especially from Mr. Evans – is miscommunication between the staff and board and because it couldn’t be resolved any other way, the board decided to take this option. The problems are not impracticable. You’re up against a lot. We’re not talking about is it easy or hard, is it impracticable. You guys need to figure this out.
Matthew Mashburn – no one actually saw someone else’s ballot – people thought it could happen. The Chairman said he thought someone could see another’s vote. They have not met their burden of proof because no one actually saw someone else’s ballot being cast. The absence of evidence creates the second problem. THere’s a lot of disfunction between the board an the staff. Do we have enough evidence to show that its’ impossible or impracticable? The Chairman didn’t demonstrate that. You have to have clear evidence and they said the staff didn’t get us the diagrams. I’m very concerned about this.
David Worley – Complement the attorneys – I don’t think the Clarke County board has been reasonable in their decision. The elections supervisor says she told the board that it’s not impossible or impracticable. After listening to the staff and the Chair of the Board, I come down on the side of the elections staff. I don’t think the board…. There are reasonable concerns about ballot secrecy in some precincts, I don’t think they should make a wholesale change. I think the board has violated the law. IN terms of an appropriate penalty – I would defer further penalties until the Secretaty of State’s office has had a chance to work with the board.
Brad Raffensperger – I’ve heard the concerns of the board. The chair has expressed dissatisfaction with their county attorney and elections staff. It’s not our job to manage the staff of Clarke County. I would highly recommend you work this out (not exact). we’re going to have record numbers of people this year. I don’t think you’ve provided clear proof and you’ve violated code. We can bring this to a vote. First off I recommend a cease and dissist and a public reprimand, which I think this is. We’ll work up an invoice for the costs. You’ve been using paper ballots for a week, when is the appropriate date that you can move back to machines at least by Friday. I would ask Ms. Sosbee when you can get back up with ballot marking devices –
Charlotte Sosbee – tomorrow.
Ryan Germany – Secretary of State Counsel, State Lawyer – I don’t think a cease and desist is enough – I was going to suggest a fine, but if they can get back up by tomorrow, I would waive that.
Anh Le – I was thinking $5000 a day and waive if they can start tomorrow.
David Worley – I think we should wait – I don’t feel comfortable assessing the investigative costs today without assessment. I motion for a cease and desist to Clarke County.
Matthew Mashburn – I support researching investigating cost. I came in with an open mind that it was an issue of secrecy. My concern is the pele of Athens Clarke county who want to vote with the electronic devices can’t on the whim of one person. The people who want to vote with paper ballots can. There needs to be something more. Also, they made decisions about equipment not paid for by Athens Clarke County but by the State of GA.
Ryan Germany – Secretary of State Counsel, State Lawyer – we don’t want to punish the citizens of Athens Clarke County for a disagreement by the Board and staff. I think we should put the figure at $2500 even thought that is low.
Board Member – I saw figures today that estimate the cost at $16,000, she $2500 is very low.
Anh Le – I make a motion to make investigative cost at $2500 – motion carried. I would like to propose a $5000 a day until Athens Clarke county is in compliance and that can be waived. If they revert to the ballot marking devices by tomorrow, that will be waived. Motion carries.
David Worley – there’s been talk of dysfunction between board and staff.
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