Hancock County Board of Elections Meeting 06/29/20

Robert Ingram – Vice Chairman 

Roshiba McCrary -Secretary 

Teresa Kell – Member 

Nancy Stephens – Member 

James Culver – Member 

Purple shirt: Kell 

Hat: McCrary 

Many more observers today than the meeting in May 

Motions 

• Unfinished business: find a different building for (unheard) 

• Senate bills 173 and 412: election problems moved to next week (working meeting) 

Ms Stephens. add to agenda under new business. Two recount requests (Mayweather/Barnes) Ms Stephens: approve agenda with subtractions/additions already approved 

Approval minutes 

Ms Stephens: motion to table reading of minutes June 17th (they just got the minutes just before the  meeting) 

McCray: April 23rd minutes already been approved 

Ms. Stephens: April 16th minutes have not been approved, make a motion to review April 16 minutes McCray: she thinks April 16th minutes have been approved 

Ms. Stephens: May 8th she sent an email to everyone with corrections, tabled it until next regular  meeting (today) 

Chair: wants to have everything in front of group, wait to consider, not tonight. 

Ms. Stephens: wants to table the May 14th and June 17th minutes (seems to be some issues with agenda)  until next regular meeting. Approved 

Monthly budget review: no update

Chair report: no report. Tries to visit the office as much as possible to make sure they are operating as  smoothly and legally as possible. Absent last week because of death of sister 

Supervisor report: presented in writing to board members, no questions 

Unfinished business: meeting with commissioners 

Space in office:  

Kell: not enough room for people to watch, they need a bigger space 

Want to put this issue on the commissioner agenda 

Was discussed before the election, seems like meeting was cancelled because of the virus.  

Chair: place is way too small. No way to conduct elections out of that building. Need a more  modern building. They should go to a commissioner meeting to get this on their agenda 

Kell: they should do official meeting 

Chair: work session is a better meeting to attend. He knows they’ve seen the issue. It’s a matter  of deciding where their office goes. Not too many place available to go to. 

Gerald: Does the group want to be a part of the working session, what they’re going to look for  from BOE group is to make recommendations. If not, will leave that meeting empty again. 

Chair: EOC building is the only one large enough for the space that they need. Is it available? Kell: Chair Hudson needs a letter to put it in front of their board 

McCray: We’ve reached out before. The board has tried to provide alternatives, but they have  not received a response 

Attorney: was tasked to work with Chair to do a report for the commissioners. If want some  legal basis and other reasons why, might consider doing in the first work session in august, so  they can show why they need more space, equipment, poll workers. She’s already started a list  and presentation for this presentation. 

Gerald: The EMC building. Need to consider how much expansion. Need meeting room, storage,  etc 

Chair: needs room to fit public for meeting, need to consider all space needs. Also equipment  needs to be stored a certain temperatures. Need space for counting of ballots for public viewing. Should do August working group for this issue. Gives them all of July to sort out needs. 

Ms. Stephens: motion to table discussion of space to next regular meeting (July meeting) and  work session. Approved 

Gerald: should have work session prior to next regular meeting 

Ms Stephens: does two hours work, they have a lot to discuss (July 9th). Prior to regular meeting

Attorney Spencer:  

Ms. Stephens: attorney is the monitor. Supposed to pay him up to $5k.year. Not sure what he  did. Know there were reports. Knows there were contact between supervisor. Ask our attorney  about what we’re going to be doing 

Gerald: he only got one piece of correspondence and forwarded to their attorney 

Attorney: Ms. Stephens is correct. They reported info back that he requested. May be her fault,  but she sent this to the attorney and told him that he should reach out to Gerald. Lots of things  changed: new supervisor, death of a board member. There are only certain things they must  give to the monitor. 

Chair: did he request info 

Attorney: he deals mostly with disqualification. If there’s a challenge, they have to involve him.  They’ve not had any challenges since their last case. Mostly about removing from voting rolls.  They share that info with sec of state out of an abundance of caution. Only thing board is  required to do is send info about disqualified voters. About his fee: up to $5k. She thinks  language is inconsistent. Probably not worth the fight. 

Chair: is it a flat fee? Weather he does anything or not 

Attorney: that look correct. The could go to fed court to ask for clarification, but would be more  expensive than to pay him $5k. He’s only got a few years left. 

New business 

Recount request 

Chair: what do we have? 

Attorney: same two letters prior to certification received after certification. Before cert, one  process. After cert, another process. Still another avenue, can go thru court system. They have  received the exact same letters. Questions arise 

• When was the cert uploaded to sec of state? 

o Were the request timely? 

o According to the law: two business days in writing for question. She can neither confirm  or deny 

Gerald: June 19th was certification 

Attorney: Request made on 19th and 27th (unheard)

Attorney: both fall in the two business days.  

In order for candidates shall have right to recount. Shall not be more than one half of one  percent the total votes. Any such candidate and  

Look at total votes. If not greater than one half of one percent. That’s the qualification for a  recount. She’s not an accountant or CPA. Rough numbers  

For candidates:  

Mayweather/primus 

2375 might be final vote count 

Before cert. total votes 1056 Merriweather 1219 

Difference can not be more than 12 votes 

Prior to cert, vote difference was 63 

Barns/Clayton 

• 274 barnes 

• 439 clayton  

• 165 difference 

Not trying to beat up legislation. Used to be one percent, now it’s half a percent 

Chair: in plain English, no one qualifies for a recount? 

Gerald: numbers changed by 4 votes, due to provisional ballots 

Attorney: can have another avenue to protest, but does not qualify by recount Ms. Stephens: can supervisor send candidates 

Attorney: cart before the horse. Board still needs to decide 

Gerald: were only 8 provisional ballots total 

Attorney: no way there’s enough to affect recount 

Culver: by law, we don’t have to order 

Attorney: asking, can deviate from the law and order a recount if it doesn’t follow the law. She  believes it would be improper by the law and next step is by superior court.  

Culver: we counted 3 times, but for the satisfaction for the candidates and community. At some  point, they will need to (not audible)

Chair: was in favor of trying to clear the air for the citizens and establish more trust. He’s been  around a long time. He doesn’t not care how many times you recount. Someone will still be  dissatisfied. Wants to make sure every candidate has gotten a fair shake at the election process.  Due the circumstances of sisters death, was not on the scene. Having seen and heard rumors,  are the same since 1970. Saw his sister all of those years 1970-until required. Based on some of  the same rumors. She never lost a case. He sees same thing happening today. He said if a person  purposefly. They were short of personnel to handle the election. They need at least 5 people per  polling place. He starting looking at people he know with experience. Asked about people  

He specially asked Ms. Vernell Smith to work. She had expertise in absentee ballots. But she has  ties to a candidate’s wife. Known her all her life, she wouldn’t cheat to help a candidate.  Candidates have to go in to win, but also expect to lose. Can’t go thru life and say I’m going to  tear down the system and accuse someone of being dishonest. They should refrain from doing  that. Based on the law,  

When you sit in a position when you know the candidates and take the chance of making an  enemy because you have to make a decision on the law. When you’re obligated to uphold the  law, even if it makes someone angry. He’s in favor of the law. Based on the law, should not have  a recount. 

Attorney: a lot of people don’t know they have statutes. But also have to follow rules by sec of  state office 

183.1.15.103: process of how to do a recount. Because it is so complex and lengthy. That’s why  legislation said it must be close.  

• Have to get equipment 

• Have to select 3 ballots from different presents 

• Have to have the public 

• Have to have scanner 

• Have to come in to program ballot scanner 

• It’s not a simple procedure 

Her two cents 

Ms. Kell: will always be unhappy people, but we have to do what they law says 

McCray: she sees both sides. She says board has nothing to hid. But the law does not support a  recount.  

Culver: they need clarity. When they left last time, no clarity. Lots of if this, then that. No one  should go against the law.  

Chair: question is, it’s up to the board to do a recount. 

Ms. Stephen: Barnes does not meet the requirement for a recount. She motions no recount. Approved.

Ms. Stephens: Richard Merryweather does not meet requirement for a recount. Board does not  order a recount. Approved. 

Attorney: Ms Stephen requested that she or supervisor to send letters informing the candidates  the decision of the board about recount. 

Citizen 

Rev.Barnes: he’s not a sore loser. Doesn’t question the staff. He’s questioning the new machines. He had  covid. He didn’t come out to campaign. Started in March, got sick in April. He supports the winner.  They’ve known each other. He believes he can make a difference. Should not be the laughing stock of  the community. Too much resources to work as one. He’s going to support the winner. Most of the  people on his end don’t know him.  

Woman (couldn’t hear her name): staff from 7p-4 too many unprofessional acts New machines. Asked if  they were testing. Only tested once. Ballots rejected constantly. They’re not ready to handle the  election. Many disrespected the supervisor. She wants people to know the seriousness of the election.  She saw the workers make a mockery of the election. 

Clayton: not a preacher, getting out into the community. He was helped to fix a bridge. Want help from  rev. don’t have to be in office to help. In district 4 he says no one knew the rev either. 

Woman: sent a letter wants that letter she sent to speak for her. 

Chair: glad the two candidates came. He expects to see good things from them both.

Kell: motion to adjourn


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These meetings are open to the public by Georgia law. Georgia Open Meetings Act.

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