The Gwinnett County Board of Elections held a special meeting Monday April 6, 2020. The members discussed possible Coronavirus-related polling location changes and the status of more than 20,000 voters with a status of NC08. The following includes brief notes taken by a Peanut Gallery volunteer as a public service only. Contact the Gwinnett County Board of Elections for questions or official information.
Gwinnett County BOE Special Meeting Notes 4-6-20 6 p.m.
Notes from Board of Elections Meeting:
In Attendance – Board Members John Mangano – Chairman, Stephen Day, Alice O’Lenick
Kristi Royston Gwinnett County Elections Supervisor
Melanie Wilson, Attorney
Ben Satterfield – Vice Chairman
Call to order John Mangano.
Approval of Agenda done Approved agenda with amended item – about return postage
Stephen – would like to add discussion into paying return postage for the ballots to New Business
Opening remarks John Margano.
Kristi Royston Gwinnett County Elections Supervisor – not sure why the state kept applications for absentee voters
Kristi Royston – we had 565,385 active voters ( inactive 3,982) on March 25, has a breakdown of why people are inactive. 20,740 had a status of NC08 – they were generated and didn’t respond to mailer post office account was not responded to If didn’t reply to NOS
State sent a Covid 19 impact survey.
Cities and Counties can decide on additional sites,
April 27 early voting is supposed to start – will be under presidential guidelines – that’s shelter in Place
Kristi Royston – As people show up and check-in – can maintain 6 foot distance. People can wait outside and will have less individuals. Kristi Royston called other counties to get input. Other counties are looking at less hours and/or less locations – nothing decided yet and trying to factor vote by mail. If we open all sites are we being counter productive?
Staff has been discussing current locations – even with remodel, maintaining the distance will be harder. Shorty Howell, Mountain Park and Dacula will also be hard to maintain social distancing. Leaves us as options – George Pierce, Lucky Shoals and Bogan. In the past, we did stagger with George Pierce and Lenora opening a little early.
We have been discussing the options of drive through or drop off voting. Unless the Secretary of State says, any drop-off boxes would need to be at advance voting location. At the presidential preference primary we had some drop offs. At BOE office location – will need to maintain distancing. We have talked with Gwinnett County fairgrounds and talked to them about being a complement to the BOE office. The fairgrounds are ready and willing and we would have to go do a site survey. It could complement the BOE office location. The state sent a Covid 19 impact survey.
John Mangano – do we need to make a motion about fairground?
Melanie Wilson, Lawyer – there are state rules. Because fairgrounds have never been used as advance voting locations. My recommendation is you take a vote to identify Gwinnett Fairgrounds as a satellite location.
Royston – Make that it’s pending a site survey
John Mangano – made motion and it carried.
Stephen Day – asked about (using a ) drop box – so a voter can walk into a polling location and hand over his/her ballot? Answer – yes.
So have you asked about (using a ) drop box? Do we need to ask theSecretary of State if we can do it.
Kristi Royston – it would be a polling official – someone sworn
Melanie Wilson – if you would require the presence of someone.
Stephen – can we go ahead and propose the ballot drop box. We might have to have a sheriff’s officer present
Kristi Royston – we’ll have to see
Royston – the layout and the number of people who agree to work will determine …
Stephen – will the governor make it a by mail election?
Kristi Royston – The majority of our poll workers are over 60. Other counties are thinking less hours during week and one Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. are required. Anything beyond is extra and a good thing to have. We’ll do boxes.
Melanie Wilson – governor Kemp may have an order to affect hours and other things.
Covid website – showing graphs about when it will peak in our state. He can only impose orders 30 days at a time. There may
Alice Tolenik – under the law we have to have one location to vote in person advance voting. On election day – if we don’t have staff to open 156 precincts, what is our plan B – I was told we only have to have one precinct open on election day.
Melanie Wilson – I do not have the answer, will find out
Stephen – are there any other issues to discuss besides opening up fairgrounds location? No
Do you have a timeline for making that decision
Melanie Wilson – there will be information released tomorrow
Kristi may be getting guidance soon
Alice Tolenick – since schools are closed and churches are closed – how does that affect the polling locations.
John Mangano – Chairman Charlotte Nash asked us to meet to share issues in their next meeting. I’ll say everything is being handled by Kristi Royston.
Alice Tolenick – Can you remind the Board of commissioners that most of our polling locations are schools and churches.
George Gomez is liaison with Board of Education – Kristi Royston will contact him.
Royston- The locations we have concerns with Shorty Howell, Mountain Park and Dacula – had to maintain social distancing. In the past when we haven’t opened all at one time, we’ve done the two mentioned earlier.
Another county was talking with Royston about reducing sites and hours.
Royston – with the number of locations and days and hours in past, we’ve run two teams – is that something we’ll be able to do?
Next meeting scheduled for 4-21-20 and don’t know how we’ll hold it – zoom or in person.
John Mangano – Our senior students are heartbroken to miss prom and graduation. if you know any, reach out and check on them.
Stephen – as long as a young person is 18 on election day, that can vote in person correct? Royston – correct.
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