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Macon-Bibb Board of Elections Meeting 09/17/20

Member Present:

  • Mike Kaplan (Chair)
  • Rinda Wilson
  • Cassandra Powell 
  • Herbert Spangler 
  • Henry Ficklin

Meeting notes:

Meeting Start 4:00 Meeting End 5:00

  • Motion to approve minutes  from previous brought to Attention by Chaplain but the minutes were not prepared yet so the topic of approval of minutes are moved to the next meeting.
  • The topic of Sunday early voting is brought up by Chaplain. He wants to look at Sunday October 25,2020 as another early voting date.
  •  Member Ficklin agrees with the date and talks about the souls to the polls movement that encourage  voters to vote on Sunday not  being  active  due to Co-vid. He says he will vote for the motion but has his disagreements.
  • Wilson disagrees with the date being added due to religion and interfering with the “sabbath”.
  • Chaplain argues for the date because of the growing number of voters in the county. He says  the county had about 86,000 registered voters in 2018 but now has about 100,000.
  • He says it is not about religion, he just wants another day to count votes before election day.
    • Motion to approve Sunday Voting For 10/25
  • Shortly after there is confusion about what the motion is about and who seconded the motion.
  • Chaplain calls for the early sunday voting motion again.
  • Only one other member responds (Ficklin) and the rest of the board stays silent. 
  • The supervisor questions the silence until Wilson speaks up.
    • Wilson says she has talked to voters and she says the voters  feel they have enough days to vote. She states with the already major changes being made for voting as well as the 3 weeks of early voting the voters feel this is enough. She also brings up that the county is already in debt and this add of day will put them further in debt. Wilson says each party has lawyers that probably will sue quickly after the election due to the political  landscape right now.
    • Wilson shortly goes on a rant about God, quotes verses from the bible, and ties all the natural disasters in the World to the election. 
    • Chaplain interrupts and calls for the vote  
  • The Commissioner Valerie Win then joins the call late and interrupts to ask if she can speak but the Chaplain says that the opportunity to speak was early in the meeting.
  • Chaplain frustatedly calls for the vote of Sunday Early Voting 
    • Ficklin votes Yes
    • Wilson votes No
    • Spangler votes No
    • Chaplain votes Yes
    • The Vote Ends at 2-2 and is not carried.
    • Chaplain next discusses the Early Voting Locations in the County
  • Motion to Add 2 Early Voting Locations 
    • Seconded by Ficklin
    • Motion carried
  • Chaplain calls for the motion to pass the supplemental budget. He says the county would have to delete Sunday voting from it.
    • Motion to pass the supplemental budget.
    • Motion carried
  • Chaplain says the sample ballots for the election are ready and can be checked on My Voter Page.
    • Chaplain shortly moves on the the absentee ballot fulfillment status 
  • Powell says the SOS is using the same vendor to mail out ballots that they used in the previous election. For the November election they will charge counties $1.40 per ballot to mail because the grant for mailing has run out.  
  • The SOS will end mailing out ballots on October 16th. The county will take over mailing from there.
  • Ficklin says he has problems with ballots being sent out from the SOS and the county office. 
  • Ficklin says the SOS may send the ballots to the registration address and the county office may send them to the mailing address.
    • He thinks this may confuse some voters and discourage them for filling out either ballots. 
  • Chaplain asks about the drop box being installed in the county.
    • Powell says it has been ordered it just hasn’t arrived.
    • Ficklin says it would be installed on the Mulberry street side of the Macon Bibb courthouse.
  • 10,332 voters has been sent roll over absentee ballots 
  • 106,284 active registered voters in county 
  • 8,655 inactive voters in county
  • 114,939 = total
  • 798 applications on the dashboard to process
  • 151 voter registration applications to process
  • 186 voters in pending, 1 in challenge ( person had a felony)
  • 50 online absentee ballot applications online to process.
    • The numbers are interrupted by Chaplain who angrily tells the other board members to mute their phones. 
  • The county has applied for PPE grants for the election.
    • They are looking to pay $100 in hazard pay as well. Many poll workers are leaving due to Covid and Powell thinks this will curb the turnover.
  • Powell says the cost for extra workers, PPE and other needed supplies would be about $5,000.
    • She also suggests that custodians for the restrooms should be included into the budget. The custodian would be placed at every location for early voting and the election day.
  • Ficklin says due to workers being sick at the polls previously, he would want all new workers to have quarantined and not exposed themselves to anyone diagnosed with the virus.
    • Chaplain says he doesn’t know anything about anyone getting sick at the polls in a dismissive manner.
    • Ficklin gives an example and Chaplain asks if the county has a portal for poll workers to report their health status.
  • Powell says since the workers are temporary they don’t have any resources to report back to the Board of elections or HR.
  • Chaplain suggests the county come up with a Covid plan to solve this problem 
    • Motion to create Covid plan 
    • Motion Carried 
  • For advertisement, the county will add a media blast the two open early voting sites along with  other important election information.
  • Chaplain asks what would the county do with the early voting locations for the Run-off with only one seat up for elections. 
  • The other members agreed to keep  all the early voting locations open and to include Saturday voting too.

Public Comments:

  • Valerie Win asks if the county every sourced poll workers from the local colleges?
    • Chaplain says yes.
  • She also asks if poll workers receive overtime pay for working Saturday early voting?
    • Powell says poll workers for early voting are temporary registrars and are only used for that election, so they are paid overtime only if they work over 40 hours.
  • Another Public Member asks about drop boxes and says the county should have about 7 in the county.
    • Chaplain says the county might not have enough funds or time to install those boxes but will look into it. 
  • Another Public Member  from Common Cause says she has sourced 13 poll workers and sends the list to Chaplain. She also says she has resources for the co-vid plan the county wants to introduce.
  • Another public member says that the poll worker training does not mandate social distancing even though the Governor has extended the order.
    • Chaplain says the county will definitely institute social distancing at the poll worker training.
  • Powell says the online training did not go well but will try and do the best they can with social distancing but the county has 400 poll workers to train so this will be a task. She tells the members to feel free to wear as much PPE as possible.

Motion to adjourn the meeting

Motion carried 

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