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Athens-Clarke County Covers Postage for Absentee Ballots 6-3-20 BOE Meeting

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Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections Meeting 6-3-20

Meeting Highlights

The county will pay USPS for postage on absentee ballots sent in with no postage or without enough postage.

The county installed four absentee ballot drop box locations. The last one at the fire station was installed the week of 6-1-20.

There was a light turnout in early voting as of 6-3-20. 


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Meeting Agenda  Click Here

Video of 6-3-20 Board of Elections Meeting Click Here


Athens Clarke County Board of Elections Meeting 6-3-20 3:30pm

Meeting notes taken by an attendee of the virtual meeting.


Board of Election Members Present:

Jesse Evans

Charles Napper

Willa Fambro

Patricia Till

Rocky Raffie

Charlotte Sosebee

Lisa McGlaun


Jesse Evans called the meeting to order. Took roll of Mr. Napper, Ms Fambro.

Jesse Evans – We will start reading the Oath of Office to remind us what we’re doing and while we’re here at different meetings. Jesse read the oath.

They approved minutes from the last meeting. 

Charlotte Sosebee – 

Activity Report

We’ve added 6087 voters who are inactive – 73,074 current active voters, We’ve added 186 voters, and made 17,826 changes. May 11 was the last day to register to vote, so that number will not be as high as now. We have 21 voter registration cards since we re-opened.

Our office has been closed since the outbreak. We opened when early voting started. More reports will be coming.


Absentee ballots and Advance Voting

Ballot boxes the Fire Station was installed this week. There are four ballot box locations (drop boxes). Not as many deposited at transit. The day that the Fire Station box was installed, we had 3 ballots in the first hour. That lets me know people will be using our ballot drop boxes.

Advance voting week one: 389 voters came to our office. Week two: 291. Sat.: 43 voters. Sun.: 30 voters. 


Polling Locations 

This week: The cooperative extension polling location had 17 voters Mon. and 14 voters yesterday. Miriam Moore Mon. we had 6 and Tues. 7. There were 44 at the library on Mon. and 54 on Tues. Our office had 120 Monday and 126 on Tuesday 6-2-20.

Today (6-3-20) our office and other voting locations will be open until 7pm.

Thursday and Friday: 10:30 – 5:30pm Satellite offices and until 8pm at the office. We’re promoting on our website, highlighted to the media, notice has run in our paper and on Facebook.

Jesse Evans – In the future, maybe we can advertise on radio stations like WXAG and NPR and think of other options like social media presence. Want to make sure we’re doing everything we can.

Charlotte Sosebee – I was on WXAG last week. 18,437 absentee ballots issued and received 10,027 back.


Voter Privacy Layouts and Election Day Polling Locations

Charlotte Sosebee – I have visited two schools where voters can vote in the lunchroom and another where voters would assemble at the gym. Layouts will be successful for privacy and socially distancing. As time permits, I’ll visit other offices. Laney provided immaculate layouts on paper and the electrical capacity of locations. Locations will be ready before next elections

Signs – We posted signs at new and old locations. Will have signs posted in 3 places on all 4 unmerged polling locations. Must be the day of the election and we will try to get up sooner.

Polling location visits – Want the board to monitor the process on election day. If you find signs within 150 feet, lay on the ground or remove. I would suggest to lay on the ground so no appearance of electioneering by carrying signs. 


Election Day

Need Board members to be available for issues that may come up that we need to address. If there’s a challenge voter, there will need to be a hearing. Dont expect, but could come up.

Need at least to Board members for an upcoming meeting.

Code of Open Meetings – Have a quorum of Board members if needed for absentee ballot issues.

Board meeting at 5pm on election day. By 7pm will need to do an upload of absentee ballots and need to be ready. Voter results of precincts will be coming in. Please have on your agenda items that might need to be addressed that happened at the polls. Anything that you witnessed at polls that day, please have on the agenda. Other items can be addressed at another board meeting.

There is an assignment sheet that indicates Board Member assignments. Gathering and receiving forms.


Canvassing and Computation – On the chairman’s agenda to determine later. We can get that on our schedules

June 18 Certification of the election gives us time to get everything signed and go over with the Board before you sign it. We will have what’s been added to official results.


Update on Quarantine equipment 

There is no update right now. SOS will keep us updated on what to be done with units.

Jesse – Do you have dates and times from the absentee ballot process?

Sosebee – Starts tomorrow 11am to 6pm. On Sat. 2pm – 6pm. MOnday 9am – 5pm. Election Day 9am until completion – hope to be 7:15pm. 

These are open to the public. We will be in the training room and practice social distance. Vote review parties will be there. Rules say 2 Democrats, 2 Republicans and 1 per candidate. There are other official groups appointed to be there. It adds up.

Rocky Raffie – Has the Democrat party put forth a monitor yet? 

Charlotte – don’t have them here. They can put forth 2 people.

Rocky Raffie – My understanding is the Cooperative Extension drop box was to be installed earlier. What is the situation?

Charlotte – Last week a problem with weather, and I’ll check on installation.

Rocky Raffie – Get update by tomorrow afternoon

Charlotte Sosebee – Probably will have that update earlier

Rocky Raffie – Charman mentioned advertising for next election. Is there money laid out for that?

Charlotte – We didn’t add an advertising budget other than what the state requires.

Rocky Raffie – Maybe we can add that to the next agenda. This is my first election, is there a badge? Does not have a badge yet.

Charlotte – Will check on the order. Thought we had one for you. We’ll put in a rush order if needed and check the office.

Rocky Raffie – Voter tabulation begins tomorrow? Answer – yes

Jesse Evans – Any other board members questions or comments to Direct Sosebee update?


Public Comments – No comments submitted to the office. 

Jesse Evans – Ballot Secrecy for June 9 – guidance and directives for Poll Managers

Lisa – All poll workers have been given your directive. Received foam core boards to put between voting stations. Sending out to all machines that must be in the center of the room. Also will have blocks of styrofoam to lay back at 35 degree angle and getting screens.

Jesse Evans – Voting equipment delivery plan. This is the first time we’ve had to deliver so much equipment on one day – all 24 locations on June 8 delivered. Have created a load plan and loaded a truck to make layouts. Have a plan for drivers. Mr. Knapper – thank you for helping me analyze maps for the delivery plan. Thank you to Lisa and other staff who have worked on this.

Lisa – Trucks are rented. Have done all we can do at this moment. Have people in place to help us.

Update Quarantine voting machines – already covered in Directors update.


Absentee Ballot Postage 

Charlotte Sosebee – Have not received an invoice from the post office of ballots that didn’t’ have postage. We expect to receive that. Any ballot that doesn’t have sufficient postage, we will cover the postage.

Jesse Evans – Do we have a business reply account from the post office?

Charlotte Sosebee – It will come for account and we will receive an invoice.

Jesse Evans – Can we put out a notice to the public to send in ballots without postage and we will take care of that? Can we put it out on our website and social media?

Charlotte Sosebee – I will find out for sure if we can do that.

Judd Drake – Attorney – I have the same concern if we advertise we could be giving a gratuity. There is litigation about that. We can take care of postage but not advertise it. A local entity cannot give money to its citizens. There’s a few exceptions to it. I think this is why the Secretary of State allowed drop boxes. I know Macon Bibb county has done this for years but doesn’t advertise it. If people forget postage or not enough, that’s the situation. I would not recommend advertising it. These court cases should give us some guidance about advertising.

Absentee ballot drop boxes already covered.

Rocky Raffie – commend Director Sosebee and staff about being demanding about drop boxes. They look really good. Getting the cooperative extension drop box installed by tomorrow would be ideal.

Jesse – thank you to Director Sosebee as well. There are five other boxes on order?

Sosebee – by November will be more. We’ve had trouble finding a 5th box. Went to the post office and asked them to find some boxes. In a couple of weeks we will have 5 boxes for November. We have not advertised the cooperative extension drop box We have held off until its installed. We will not install it if we don’t get a box by Friday.

Rocky Raffie – my advice is to not install more boxes until after this election. Can you provide a mockup before their installation. The Cobb county boxes are really good. If we could emulate their boxes it would be good. 

Sosebee – the boxes looking good


Cares Grant Application 

Sosebee – I have submitted grant applications. I’ve submitted 2 for Cares and 4 Hava grants. The last of the grant applications I was supposed to send put in. PPE grants up to $3000 and drop box $3000. We did not spend more than $1100 for PPE so will not receive more. Hava would award 90% of our expenditures. I sent five. I understood we should have received reimbursement last month. I understand people out of office for corona and holiday.  

Jesse Evans – when we get back can you submit what we’re awarded.


New Business

Adopt our Mission Statement

We as a board had 4 board development sessions in 2019. Two products – bylaws and mission statement. We adopted bylaws in Jan. 2020. 

Patricia Till – last November you offered to make a Google doc for us to make edits and changes. I don’t know that we did that.

Jesse Evans – checked and there was a document. Everyone in board had editing rights. Document included notes from all board members. We met Nov. 19 and took ideas and put into one mission statement that was the one we released.

Patricia Till – I don’t remember seeing the revised mission statement.

Jesse Evans – That’s why I sent the mission statement earlier today. 

Patricia Till – I got the agenda this morning and your document at 1:30pm. I recommend tabling until the next meeting to give myself and others some time for serious thought.

Knapper – CU – recommend tabling. I feel one more month won’t make a difference.

Discussion of who read and who new. Lawyer would like to read it again and study it. 

Ms. Fambro – Motion to approve the mission statement document with caveat that if the attorney comes back with something not legal. If nothing comes back that puts us in peril legally, we adopt the mission statement. Raffle seconded minutes.

Patricia Till – I believe my motion to table the mission statement was first. I did state that I was making a motion and Mr. Knapper seconded. 

Rocky Raffie – understanding that first motion on the table until voted on

Attorney looked up motions in Robert’s Rules of Order. Second motion must be withdrawn. Ms. Fambro withdrew the motion. 

The motion to table mission statement did not pass.

The motion to adopt the mission statement with caveat of advice from lawyer. The motion passed. The mission statement is adopted.


Preview of Election Day

Already mostly covered. Sosebee – found the mockup of the boxes and will send out this afternoon.

Rocky Raffie – my intention to visit every site on election day. Just need identification. Sosebee – you will have that.

Patricia Till – can you send an email of all polling places.

Sosembee – will send this afternoon.


Notice of Meetings

Jesse – we’ve received a request from a member of the community that we provide the minimum standard of notice of our meetings. In the spirit of law we are asked to use social media more and notify the newspaper directly. 

Sosebee – We do this already. We contact our legal organ.We put it on our Facebook page. 

Ms. Fambro – I feel we do a pretty good job. If we can do more promotion that is free that is good. I think the staff is doing a good job getting the word out.

Jesse – we are communicating through social media, our website and the newspaper. As long as we are doing it in advance as soon as we can and satisfying the letter of the law, it may be fine.

Lawyer – you may want to add notifying The Flagpole. You are not required to.

Ms. Fambro – emails would be sufficient. Maybe an email to Classic City news too.

Deborah – our office would communicate with the PIO office of different media outlets, correct?

Answer – yes

Jesse Evans – I’m understanding that the elections office is not responsible for notifying the media. What happens if it doesn’t get from us to PIO to the media. 

Attorney – I would ask about that

Sosebee – everything that goes to the legal organ we tell them. Everything required of the county electrons office, we inform the legal organ and then the PIO of what else needs to be put out such as social media. 

Jesse Evans – add Red and Black, Flagpole and Classic City news – need to add.

Sosebee – I’ve seen the names from your list at PIO. I think there is a charge to put ads. For information there is one person.

Deborah – If the board is making a request, let’s make a motion and we’ll research. I hear the goal to make information timely provided to the media. 

Jesse Evans – Motion would be all notices issued regarding board of elections meetings and elections operations notices be given to Athens Banner Herald, Red and Black, Flagpole and Classic City News.

Sosebee – we will get back to you with a cost about that.

Rocky Raffie – make the motion with one addition – Make all future legal notices to Athens Banner Herald, Red and Black, Flagpole, Classic City News and the WXAG and Public radio station for our area. Fambrow – seconded. 

They discussed that these would be free public service announcement submissions versus ads. The staff will research the issue.

Jesse Evans – there was a voter who voted in advance  in March for the Presidential Preference primary. This advance voter was given a balot with the same Presidential preference primary selections. After voting, the voter notified the staff. Voter said was told that staff cancelled the March ballot.

Sosebee – as explained the March ballot would be cancelled if absentee. The ballot was cast electronically so there is no way to pull the ballot. His vote was cast twice. To correct this we are making notes on the ballots. Everyone who voted in person we will have a conversation so when they get to the ballot marking device they will know and there will be signs at the ballot. We will be following the law.

Jesse Evans – my concern if it happened here can happen across the state. If we can’t identify the ballot because no name is attached to the ballot once in the system. Does the secretary of state have any info? How can we prevent duplicate votes once they are already cast. Is there a way to fix that, or will it be that person voted twice in the election?

Sosebee – there’s no way of taking it back. We put in a procedure to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Would that voter sign an affidavit about it?

Jesse Evans – are we going against our oath because we know someone voted twice?

Sosebee – if it’s an accident it is not fraud.

Jesse Evans – do we certify the election if we know a person voted twice?

Attorney had to leave for a budget meeting. Will talk to him about this.



Jesse Evans – have 4 meetings coming up. Next meeting June 9 at 5pm in person at Lexington Rd. location.  Provisional Ballot reconciliation meeting June 16 Tues. at 1pm at Lexington Rd. facility. Next meeting June 18 Thurs 3:00pm at Lexington Rd. Last meeting is a regular Board of Elections meeting July 7, Tues. at 3:30pm.

June 12 the Emergency Order expires. Should we have the July 7 meeting virtual?

Sosebee – the government is recommending virtual meetings for the near future.

Sosebee – I would like to remind our voters of the recommendation of our state and Board to vote early. We have drop boxes. We’re ready for electron day and want everyone who is able to vote to vote early. We will be open on election day June 9th 7am to 7pm.

Meeting yesterday – Secretary of State – was a training session for early tabulation and voter review panel, and more.

Jesse Evans – we appreciate the staff and everything they are doing. We are working hard to do the best for our county.




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