Ware County Planned Polling Location Consolidations due to Poll Worker Shortage at 5-12-20  BOE Meeting 

Ware County held their monthly Board of Elections meeting 5-12-20 virtually so the public could attend.

 

Key Points from Meeting

The county plans to consolidate smaller polling locations due to shortage of poll workers.

A new vice chairman of the board was elected.

The county has been seeking 16 – 25 year olds to become poll workers.

Did you know that the public can attend Board of Elections meetings? 

These meetings are open to the public by Georgia law.

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Notes from the Ware County Board of Elections Meeting 5-12-20

Notes from this meeting were taken by an attendee. 

 

Board Members Present: 

Danny Bartlet, Mary Barnes, Bill Day, Jimmy Carter, Ossie Andrews, Linda Titus and Newton Bates.

5 Members of Public Present

Meeting Started with Prayer followed by Pledge of Allegiance

Roll Call of all Board Members 9:03

Meeting started at 9:00 a.m. and ended at 10:32 a.m.

 

Motion to approve agenda

Motion passed 

Vice Chairman, GOP, Jimmy Carter  recently resigned.

Vice chairman In County should alternate between two parties each year

Recommendation from Chairman Bill Day to have another member from GOP to Fill the Vice Chairman role.

Member states that the Democratic Party should recommend a member for Vice Chair.

Member Ossie Andrews suggests member Linda Titus.

New Vice Chair from Democratic Party selected, Linda Titus.

New Member Danny Barlet elected to the board

 

Approval of Previous Minutes

 Motion for approval of March minutes, motion approved.

There was no meeting in April.

 

Absentee Ballot and Drop Box Information

Member Danny Bartlet has safety concerns for absentee ballots.

Chairman Bill Day states the details for an absentee dropbox including the security and costs.

Mr. Day States that the county has  installed cameras, keypad, armed systems and some funding will come from the state.

Mr Day also suggests that a drive thru drop box would be useful for senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Member Linda Titus asked the Board to ask if there is a campaign in the county to encourage voters to use the mail in ballots.

Member Nelson says that the county will announce the campaign on the Facebook and will use the Newspaper and post various signs in the county to promote the use of the ballots

Also says the county will use television services

A member of the public asks if the county has checked out how its plans on servicing its nursing homes ballots and how they plan on preceding with senior citizens in general due to the virus.

Bill day says the county has already reached out to the nursing homes and have started the process of counting these ballots.

 

Felon Voting Status

Chairman Bill Day starts a public hearing to review newly convicted felons voting status on the voter rolls for the election.

County must give the Felon a hearing. Families are notified.

Motion for attorney to review all cases involving newly convicted felons voting status

Motion passed

Bill Day states that the county has applied for the 2 grants given to counties by the Secretary of State’s office.

  • Help America Vote Act  that would help with security and poll accessibility. Cost – $7,000
  • CARES Act  that pay for PPE for each polling location needed. Cost – $3,000,  90% Reimbursement

 

Election Dates and Qualifying   

The Board Discusses the Motion to coincide its special election with the November 3rd election to save resources and money.

Bill Day wants to set the qualifying day (The day citizens in the county would have to qualify to vote in election) to July 13th. 

Wants each citizen to qualify 110 days before this date.

Ossie Andrews Motions to set qualifying date for citizens of Ware County to vote in the November 3rd election to July 13th, 2020.

Member Mary Barnes Seconds the motion. Motion Passed.

The County has been asked by the state to keep all early absentee ballots in order to be ready to be counted and processed in a more secure fashion.

 

Ballots Received

So far, Ware County has received 1,700 ballots in the office, stating this is 1100 more ballots than the last general election.

The Board Makes a motion to count the ballots received from 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM due to the long time it takes to count the ballots.

Motion made to count the ballots received from 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Motion Passed.

 

Poll Workers and Locations

Member Bill Day moved on the topic of the shortage of poll workers in the county. He says that many experienced poll managers are quitting due to virus concerns. The county has been able to fill some roles with inexperienced ones but this is not an ideal situation.

He says one of his poll workers (unnamed) has already contracted the virus and had to self-quarantine.

In response, Ware County intends to consolidate some of its polling locations. District 2b-River of Life Church will be transferred to District 1 C.C. McCray City Auditorium 

Member Bill day stated that the River of Life polling location only saw 155 walk-in voters at the last General Election and the  City Auditorium saw 579 walk-in voters.

Polling location are a mile apart

He stated that the change may not be permanent, but only as a response to Coronavirus 

Each polling location should have 3 workers according to the chairman. No location can be less than 3 workers.

Member Ossie Andrews agreed and asked that the county work to inform the public in a timely manner.

Member Danny Barlet asked if the elections supervisor will have enough time to suit the transition.

Member Bill day assured him that they will have enough time as the information between the two locations are stored in the systems. 

He also stated that the county will be informing the public on any updates by putting the changes in the newspaper and various signs around the river of life polling location.

Public Member Larry Locket asked how many active voters are in that particular area.

He suggested that the moving consolidation of the locations should be dependant upon how many active voters are projected to participate in the election whose use those locations

Motion to Consolidate the River of Life to the C.C. McCray City Auditorium.

Motion Passed.

For Election Day, The Board had concerns that the county does not want large crowds or candidates waiting on election results  in the elections office.

To supplement this Member Billy Day suggests a Facebook live stream of the results.

Members of the Board agree

 

Public Records

The topic moves to the concern of public records requests.

Superintendent stated that the cost of a record request is 10 cents a page and this cost is a fraction of what it costs to print the request along with the labor including from the clerk.

He wants to change the cost to 25 cents per page.

Motion to increase the public records request to 25 cents per page with an added $8 retrieval fee.

Motion Passed.

 

Poll Worker Shortages

The Superintendent had many worries about the shortage of poll workers in the county and calls for help on getting any poll workers 16 years old – 25 years old to help. 

For health concerns, the county plans to sanitize each polling location after each voter.

Plan to post one poll worker outside to regulate crowd size inside the location and outside.

He also informed the members of the meeting the ballot is very long in Ware County and the voting process has changed this year.

To separate an at risk citizen from being exposed to the virus, the county intends to place an isolated ballot at each location.

Ware County has received 4,400+ absentee ballot requests.

 

Polling Location Update

Member Ossie Andrews asked for an update on the new polling location in the county.

Ware County has moved the Sweat Baptist Church Location to the Ware county Board of Education

Member Bill Day said the switch has been excellent.

He also said the website should be backed up and running shortly and it will be updated with all current county information. He wants the site to include minutes from meetings and any other public records to reduce the work of records requests from citizens.

 

Meeting Adjourned at 10:32AM

 

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