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Whitfield County Board of Elections Meeting 09/10/20

Members present: Stephen Kelehear (chair) and Carol Byers

Ex Dir: Mary Hammontree

  1. Mary Hammontree: They have requests for 6,000 absentee ballots (3,900 from elderly or disabled), 500 from the SOS website. They anticipate 15,000.
  2. Hammontree: Next Tuesday, she’ll be making a request for additional funds to the county commissioners
  3. Hammontree: two polling places have been changed—Westside and Cohutta. The new sites are larger, close to the old sites, and have plenty of parking.
  4. Hammontree: They’ve hired 30 new poll workers, and she thinks they have enough. GEMA is providing masks and shields. She said they have sanitizer, gloves and other PPE. They are preparing to train, using Zoom and videos as much as possible. 
  5. Hammontree: They will be installing a new drop box at the courthouse in a couple of weeks. It will hold 2,500 ballots.
  6. Hammontree: Campaign material and slogans. She read the statute prohibiting campaign material onsite. The SOS has told the local boards, they (the local boards) will need to decide what to include as covered material. The issue is about MAGA hats and clothing, as well as Democratic slogans. She asked the board for advice. She said one person has threatened to sue the county if they prohibit MAGA clothing.

Kelehear: He said one reading of the law could be that if material and clothing that doesn’t mention the candidate’s name is acceptable, but he wasn’t sure. He was worried about the disruption caused when a voter is asked to cover up a slogan or remove a hat.

Byers: She said she can’t believe the state elections board didn’t make a ruling. She also worried about the disruption. 

Hammontree: She said they can’t prohibit a person from voting, but they would take down their names and send them to the SOS to handle.

Kelhear: Because one member, Rob Cowan, isn’t present, he would like to get his input. He suggested that he, Kelehear, contact Cowan. They may have a called meeting (a decision needs to be made soon for training purposes).

Hammontree: She emphasized she’s asking for advice, but she didn’t think BOE would have to have a vote. 

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.

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