Press "Enter" to skip to content

Gwinnett County Board of Elections Meeting 08/18/20

Called to Order 6:03 pm by Chairman 

All board members present 

Thanked Kristi for all she has done. 

Agenda was changed a bit moved old business up so it is first and periodically the Chair will meet with different groups and the new agenda will give an opportunity to speak from committee minutes, etc., 

John Mangano, Stephen Day, Dr. Wandy Taylor, Alice O’Lenick, Ben Satterfield 

July 31 minutes approved 

Board is comprised of 5 members 2 by Democrat and 2 Republicans and 1 member at large. 

Proposal discussion what was summarized Chair will speak on behalf of the board, etc., Each board member can say chairman is the board contact, etc., Each has a responsibility so that only the chair can speak on behalf of the board. The current policy is longstanding resolution where Chair speaks to the media on behalf of the board. Board members have attended forums and speak about events as it relates to the community. Stephen Day says it’s not good government. No chair has ever mentioned the issue of interaction with anyone. No compelling reason for this change. This is not consistent with good management practice. Stephen Day has consulted with his personal attorney who confirmed that it is not right and the Democratic party stands in opposition to these changes proposed for the bylaws, Steve Hison, Pedra Maron, Sam Park, Marlene Fosque, Ben Ku, Donna McLeod, Jasmine, Brenda Lopez, Wanda Taylor and others oppose these proposed bylaws. It is autocratic and has no part in being a part of the Gwinnett county elections. 

John Mangano said because of confusion that he took this up is unfair, he said it was done because of confusion around this policy. He said where does this policy limit speech. He said he fought for county members to have emails and it’s a gross characterization. Stephen said this is how we interpret it. They did get into discussion. Stephen said this was never brought up with Beauty Baldwin was here. He said it’s been interpreted as a takeover. He said he cannot take the letter. Stephen said this was not taken well. Alice asked why he didn’t go to the board first and all he is doing is making trouble. He should have spoken to the other 4 members of the board. You did this to elevate to a higher level. Maybe it should be written differently so it’s more reflective of how board has acted in the past and if you have ever been on a board the Chairman always speaks on behalf of the board and that’s the way every board has conducted. Alice doesn’t believe John wants to silence anyone. There should be a cohesive bylaws written and she said he is acting like a petulant child! He should not have taken it to all officials she doesn’t care if someone has a Ph.D and he has an obligation to the board which was totally disregarded. 

Stephen said he has spoken to the board and he conveyed the reaction he would get from all sides. The language is not good and it doesn’t need to say he can talk to one person or another. He said he has expressed his concern and it’s fallen on deaf ears. And at this stage of the election cycle this should not even come up. John will you admit there was some confusion about this policy. Stephen said no. This is serious it is a free speech. He said Alice has never pulled this. Wandy said she wanted to speak to this as well. That it did come up during the last meeting and she had issues about verbiage and when it states it’s our responsibility to make any member that the Board is the point of contact. That sounds very restrictive to her and the old policy says the chairman is the only one to speak on behalf of the board. This is about the behavior of 5 members and if 5 people can’t communicate to make sure we have clear understanding because it doesn’t need to go into all of this. We are 5 members that could have been cleared up during discussion. If I (Wandy) stepped out of line on behalf of the board let’s talk about it. When it came up in executive discussion that’s the opportunity for the chair to make it clear to ensure the members have understanding. The new wording says if someone asked me to speak at a meeting, I would be concerned to make sure I have to go through you to do that. Last week I spoke to several members of the staff – I spoke to poll managers and area managers. The way this speaks I would have to go through that, sometimes more verbiage can lend more confusing. To Wandy – she is clear on the current policy. She doesn’t understand the updates. When you add in that I am to make any organization that the chairman is the voice of contact – she is concerned because she would have to go through him to get permission. And when she speaks she is a board member. Ben said let the two ladies form a committee for re-wording form Ad-Hoc committee to revise this policy statement. 

Alice seconded. Stephen said that should take place at the end of the year. It’s not an appropriate time with the upcoming election to be involved in this now. He said there are deep feelings here and the status quo works well he sees no reason to disrupt this. Amend motion to take place in 2021. 

Motion to rewrite and Alice said she and Wandy can rewrite the bylaws and can be done before 2021. She wants to when she and Wandy come up with the wording they will all know how they will act with public groups and the media. 

Committee Reports: Wandy Taylor said she and Ben are having ongoing reports on their discussions with staff and some of the processes. She spoke on August 7 with several staff members and Kristi Royston was asking basic questions and understanding duties and responsibilities. She learned there were some very dedicated people and many expressed their reason for working the polls. Recommendations she heard were – (1) more automation a lot is done by hand for example payroll is done by hand. Payroll comes late after the election.  (2) training – cross training and train the trainer (limited staff doing all the training) – look at a different way to do things. Useful IT people on staff would be helpful these recommendations come from staff and communications does need to be improved. 

From top down and poll workers should be at the table when decisions are made. Many are new and/or new to their roles. We must take recommendations seriously. 

John’s updates: last meeting and website – He reached out to communicates about website to make things easier to access. After long discussions He has worked to get all board members have county email addresses so we can communicate with them all. County has issued a cell phone to the Chairman. Thanked board of commissioners for that. John also met with Bryan Tyson and Melanie Wilson about their authority and board of commissioners. Also spoke to Asians Americans for Advancing Justice has a follow up meeting with them. They asked for absentee by mail to be printed in Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese – requiring another language would like online absentee ballot portal in those languages as well and mailing to all languages. Ballot drop locations. He also met with the NAACP. Felt they should have some kind of qualifications as board members. They were opposed to member at large and want it open every 2 years where they pulled applications. Would like for your positions open and favored term limits. 

Kristi Royston Report– active voters 576,717 ???? in June (I didn’t catch that number) 

Dr. Taylor spoke to several staff members she implemented positive changes from the August run-off and poll manager pick-up processes. Open records requests happening 5 currently that staff are working on. The portal that was mentioned at John’s meeting. They are doing a portal Security of State said it would be working at the end of August. What’s special about that portal – How the person applies it will end up on our dashboard rather than being sent via email and/or fax. Another state thing is they will continue to do the elderly and disabled roll-over list that is an issue for Gwinnett county. The state and county can’t find an issue because they are looking for a vendor to handle that. Is there any effort on state. She doesn’t know why someone received their ballot elderly and some didn’t receive them. 

Memo about meetings being broadcast: Kristi forwarded to county administrator and no notes on that. 

Alice has questions about absentee ballots: How many we had and how many rejected (they use the term cured not rejected) 

569 on election days from drop box 502 accepted 66 rejected and that number is higher than is on the board 64 had no signature and 2 were mismatch. Absentee by mail 108 signature cures 110 not cured. 

Difference between cured and rejected? New language instead of rejected 

Missing signature – signature line was blank 

Provisional ballots-  registered voter did not provide id (this ballot was presented) 

Alice – not accept ballot (second) 

PR – provisional ballot – 15 not on the list for registered voter – 8 to not accept and 3 to accept 

That had a ballot that was counted already ???? 

Out of Precinct – not on the ballot for their precinct 49 of them – motion to accept ????

Those will go into the official ballot and the results for certification will be ready soon. 

Record Retention Open Records and Records Retention presentation – Training Georgia Open Records Act 

O.C.G.A. S 50-18??? 

All emails will be public records (this is for the board members since they just got email accounts.) any text messages, emails will all be open records. If used for county and/or board business. All public records should be open to the public unless they fit in for exemption. The Basic Obligation. Destruction of Records

Election Results: 

Motion to accept results: it says unofficial they accept and then it becomes official since the sheet says unofficial. 

Board members have to sign the election results tonight prior to leaving. 

Poll change location: 

Moving Gwinnett county fairgrounds on election day – Tina Fleming said they are looking at availability 

Back to Rhodes Jordan Park  

Plenty of parking – social distancing is good, etc., 

Election results – August 11 a motion to accept first and second. 

Stephen Day is checking with Georgia Tech either absentee by mail issues, metrics on how long it takes people to vote – storage of voting equipment – a group may measure and watch the election day activities and report on it. Timing may be off now because equipment is being moved soon. But the Gwinnett elections is interested in the task taking place. 

Financial updates: Wandy wanted to bring updates she said the financial updates should be monthly and she receives them annually but that’s not enough because of discussions about money throughout the year. Having updates and awareness includes having the budget available as part of discussion. 

Stephen said public has brought concern because during special called meeting the public would like to comment and he wants to amend public policy to do comments during special called meetings. 

That’s a policy change that would take place 

Public Comments 

Salome Carter (Peanut Gallery) – access to July meeting minutes and agenda he said it’s on the website. 

Steve Toggerson – why senior citizens not receiving their absentee ballots, masters in journalism – communication is important 

(Gentlemen – I didn’t get his name) Gwinnett county certified a vote today without the voters here to speak. There are some discrepancies in the results and ballot marking devices. He has requested to see the numbers and not been given the ability to do that. He wants the paper that is printed after going in the scanners (counted) 

Lee Wiggins (Peanut Gallery) – Questioned the ability to utilize Zoom meeting and why we were meeting in person 

Dianne Fisher – League of Women Voters 

Concluded public comments: 

Meeting Ended at 7:54 p.m. 

Moving into executive session for pending litigation: Only the Board members 

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

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

Become a Peanut Gallery Volunteer Monitor at our next training on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 6 pm. Sign up Here

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Georgia Peanut Gallery is an initiative of the New Georgia Project.