The following includes brief notes taken by a Peanut Gallery volunteer as a public service only. Contact the Richmond County Board of Elections with questions or for official information.
The Richmond County Board of Elections adopted a no-photography policy at their polling locations. The county also rescheduled the May 11 monthly meeting to May 4 in order to discuss COVID-19 modifications. Absentee ballot applications are receiving a warm response as the county has received between 13,000 and 14,000 in approximately ten days.
Board of Elections Meeting- Richmond County, GA
Monday, April 20, 2020- 6 p.m. via Zoom and recorded
Link is on Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ARCBOE/
Meeting recording location: https://youtu.be/078jSD2O5zU
In attendance: Travis Doss, Lynn Bailey, Terrence Dicks, Bob Finnegan, Timothy McFalls, Sherry Barnes via video- Call in Marsha Brown
Approval of minutes January 23, 2020- unanimous
Approval of minutes February 10, 2020 – unanimous
Approval of minutes March 9, 2020- unanimous
Update on June 9 Primary Election
LB: New calendar showing advancing voting, election and voter registration deadlines. Advance voting day May 18. The question is how to advance with advance voting for the Primary June 9.
Under current BOE policies all four sites would be open, Saturday voting at all four sites. The Board has considered opening only the Downtown site. Another option is to open Downtown and Diamond Lakes only. The rooms are too small at Warren Road and Brigham locations. Seven or eight poll workers will nearly fill the rooms without voters. The other option is to open up all of the locations and make the best situation of it we can. If we make a change, it will require movement from this Board.
TM: suggests the issue might need to be tabled until the Board knows more about the required restrictions during that time frame. Acting now is “jumping the gun.”
BF: asks how much public notice is needed for modifications
TM: today or have a called meeting in short order.
TD: My concern is the General Election in November, we probably need to keep all of our sites at highest capacity possible, I do not think that we need to diminish the number of sites available. I think we should keep our advance plan as it is.
SB: Would Diamond Lakes be open for all three weeks?
LB: That could be considered. We have a meeting May 11, but we can reschedule it for May 4. As long as we give a week’s notice before advance voting, I think we will be okay.
SB: suggests the issue is tabled until May 4.
SB motions to table the issue until May 4. Marsha seconds the motion. Unanimously decided.
LB talks about what the PPE plan for poll workers and for voters.
Homeland Security requires poll workers to work. CDC issues guidance; Encourage mail-in and early voting. Drive up voting is not allowed in Georgia. Using social distancing. Wash hands. Make sure there is soap and paper towels and hand sanitizer. Advance ballot drop off boxes are an easy way for people to vote. Each poll worker will be provided with an eye shield, 2 sets of gloves and 2 masks, and mandated to wear the gear the entire time they are working while voters are present. All equipment will be frequently cleaned. Voters will have hand sanitizer at the beginning and the end of the process and given a stylus to use.
TD: Are we looking at taking temperatures of staff and voters?
LB: We have not looked at that.
TM: We need to protect the poll workers, but we can’t act as physicians, if voters are sick. SB agrees but questions if children will be allowed.
LB: Children under 12 must be with a parent. Really encouraging people to vote by mail and to not bring anyone with them who is not voting.
TD: Questions whether voters will be required to take off masks for identification purposes.
TM: Suggests it best to table all PPE questions and thoughts until the May 4 meeting.
May 11, 2020 meeting is officially moved to May 4, 2020.
Absentee Ballots Applications
LB: We have received between 13,000 to 14,000 in the last week and a half. 4,700 Democratic 2,800 Republican and 315 nonpartisan are ready to be mailed by a vendor the SOS hired. She expects 20,000 absentee ballot applications before it is over.
Ballot Drop Off Boxes
LB: Very strict security and weather proofing requirements. Suggests putting drop boxes at all four voting locations with cameras already at locations. Drop boxes are ordered. They will be available May 18. They have to be checked by 2 people together every 24 hours.
SB: questions what happens if people drop in boxes and still vote Inside.
LB: Written vote will be cancelled.
SB: How many people are needed to work on absentee ballots?
LB: needs more thought
Board motions and votes to allow LB do what she needs to procure and create logistics for the boxes.
Media and Photography Policy
LB: Voter privacy- disallow photography in polling locations except as stated by law for poll workers for official reason & disabled voters. Exit polling distance is 25 feet from the building or 25 feet from the last person in line.
Board motions and unanimously votes to adopt a no-photography policy and adopts the 25-feet rule.
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