Grady County Board of Elections Meeting 10/13/20

MEETING DETAILS:

Meeting Start Time: 5:38 PM

Meeting End Time: 6:11PM

Board of Registrars Members Present (4):  Melinda Butler (Chief Registrar), Cindy Taliaferro, Jim Bracewell, Howard Cochran, Alice Dodson

Probate Judge / Election Superintendent: Denise Maddox

Number of Public Members Present (4): Barbara Lowe (OFGC), Kennetha Anderson (OFGC), Sandra Sallee (Democratic Party), Jonna Weaver (Election Liaison)

OPEN AGENDA

  • Issues with Election Net(Check-in / Registration Only) on yesterday (Monday, October 12th)
    • Check-in (where you make your ballot) has been extremely slow due to number of voters across the State of Georgia
    • Will be shut down at 10PM tonight for maintenance to optimize performance
    • This is not the voting machine – Check-in Only to make sure that voters are registered
  • Early Voting
    • Started Monday, October 12th and the line was “out the door”

PUBLIC COMMENTS:

  • Absentee Ballots
    • If person’s absentee ballot has not arrived and they want to vote in person, how does that work? – Sandra Sallee
      • If they have their ballot, they need to bring it with them
      • If they do not have their ballot, they are asked to sign a sheet to say who they are, date of birth and give their signature saying that they would like to vote in person even though they received an absentee ballot – Melinda Butler
  • When is the last day for people to request an absentee ballot? – Barbara Lowe
    • Last day is October 30th
    • However, due to the number of days it takes for the mail service (2-5 days), I would not wait until 4:30PM on October 30th to request an absentee ballot
    • With you all being in the public and meeting and talking to people, I would advise them to ask for an absentee ballot early because I can’t guarantee that they will get it and be able to get it in my hands by the deadline on November 3rd
    • The ballot box will remain open until 7PM on November 3rd, then it will be pulled; taped up and locked up – Melinda Butler
  • Normally if you did an absentee ballot before, you would be mailed one, right? – Barbara Lowe
    • Since June 9th, the Secretary of State sent them out, if they put in an application
      • If anyone were 65 or older or if they were disabled, they would automatically be sent an absentee ballot in the mail for the rest of the election year
      • A Rollover Report was created and because they checked the box declaring that they were either 65 or older or they were disabled, they were put on this report and mailed an absentee ballot.
      • These people have 3 options to vote:
        • Mail
        • Absentee
        • In Person
  • Is there a current backlog? – Sandra Sallee
    • Only since Monday, October 12th because I have been unable to get into the system – Melinda Butler
  • Paper Printed Ballots
    • When the paper printed ballot is being fed into the scanner, do you have to push a button or is everything automatically complete? – Sandra Sallee
      • There are two buttons: 1) Cast and 2) Return
      • These buttons will not do anything unless the person did not vote.
        • Then a message would be displayed, and these buttons will light up
      • You can push them all that you want but they will not do anything unless they are lit up and they are only needed when you do not vote.
      • When feeding in the ballot, if it is crooked or something similar, it may come back out and must fed into the scanner again – Denise Maddox
  • Is there someone who can answer questions if there are issues with the new equipment (for those who did not use it in June 2020)? – Barbara Lowe
    • There will always be someone in the area to help with any questions pertaining to the new equipment
    • We do not want any walking out with their ballot.
      • If the allot is not fed into the scanner, this would mean that the person has not voted. – Melinda Butler
  • Someone sent a text and were asking about marks or something being on the ballot prior to them putting it in the scanner.  There should not be any markings on the paper ballot from anyone else should there? – Barbara Lowe
    • No
    • It is clear paper and costs 13 cents a piece, so we are being very careful with it
    • There is nothing on the paper and it comes in reams and boxes like copier paper but just thicker
  • Early Voting
    • I am in Bainbridge and I have never seen lines out the door when early voting first starts.  Have you been getting the same type of response in Grady county? – Barbara Lowe
      • Yes
  • Has there been a problem with social distancing and people wearing their masks? – Barbara Lowe
    • No one has reported any issues
    • Dexter is the technician from Dominion (who the state chose to provide the new equipment) and he has been a huge help with the election process
  • With the increase in the number of people coming through, is there enough poll workers to make sure things go smoothly? – Barbara Lowe
    • Yes
  • How many machines to you have for early voting? – Sandra Sallee
    • 6 Ballot Marking machines
    • Is there talk of adding more?
      • The most we have had is 6 and I will say that we have never had 400+ voters in one day before.  It is a record.  Everything went very smoothly besides the check-in being slow. – Melinda Butler
  • How long is early voting going on? – Jim Bracewell
    • Until October 30, 2020
  • After early voting has ended, will there be a way to tell how many people have voted in person? – Barbara Lowe
    • We keep a numbered generic list of everyone combined (both parties)
    • We have several ways: You can stop by or call and we can tell you right then how many people voted in person between October 12th and October 30th 
  • Tally of Absentee Ballots
    • Are you keeping a running tally of absentee or mail-in ballots? – Sandra Sallee
      • Because Monday and Tuesday have so busy, I will say that we have received over 1100 absentee ballots so far – Melinda Butler
      • And these will be opened starting on October 19th, is that correct?
        • It will be from 5pm – 8pm until done, except for Tuesday
  • I understand that the Voter Review Panel will be present to review any absentee ballots that need review at this time, and they will not be put aside until later.  Is that right?
    • Yes
    • Both parties have stated that they will have Voter Review Panel representatives present
    • The local party does one and the state party does the other
    • The party will send a letter with the names for those who will be assigned, and a schedule will be created.
  • Virtual Meetings
    • Are there any plans to have virtual meetings for this in the future? – Barbara Lowe
      • Just locally and not virtual
      • There is not a whole lot going on in a non-election year.  We are not as involved as a Board of Commissioner’s meeting where they have everything going on all the time. – Melinda Butler
  • Board of Elections vs Board of Registrars
    • This is the Board of Registrars and Grady County does not have a Board of Elections.  What is the difference and what determines if you have one vs the other? – Kennetha Anderson
      • Years ago (as far as I know) all probate judges were the Election Superintendents.  All but 30 counties have combined boards.  You have an Election Superintendent and a Board of Registrars.  For smaller counties on non-election years, it would not be suitable to pay someone a full-time salary to be the Election Superintendent. I could give it up, but I enjoy doing it.  It is just the choice of the Probate Judge. I do not have a board of Elections. – Denise Maddox
        • So, you are the Elections Superintendent, but you do not have a Board of Elections?  Yes, that is correct.  I usually do not attend these meetings and they are run by the Board of Registrars. I just come when requested. – Denise Maddox
  • Voting Machines
    • How many total machines do you have for voting in November? – Sandra Sallee
      • The Large Tablets that we use to vote and choose our ballots are just marking devices; they hold no sensitive information
        • We have 62 of these
      • Tabulators (Scanners) – these are the only devices that hold results
        • We have 16 of these
  • Poll Closures
    • Have you had to close any polls? – Sandra Sallee
      • I closed 4 Polling Locations in March 2020
      • I did not have enough polling workers due to COVID-19
      • Everyone affected was notified and signs were posted telling them where they could vote – Denise Maddox
  • Police Presence
    • If there were circumstances on Election Day, and you are out in the community versus the Courthouse, you said that you were working with law enforcement on having a police presence at the polls – Barbara Lowe
      • I am working on (if any way possible) having an officer at every polling place
      • If not every polling place, at least the ones way out in the County
      • Do not know if I can get 9 officers but I would like to, and I am still working on it – Denise Maddox
  • Appreciation
    • “You all are doing a great job.” – Barbara Lowe
    • “I echo that.  There is obviously a lot of hard work and planning that is going into this and it is greatly appreciated.” – Kennetha Anderson
  • Electrical Concerns
    • Have you had any electrical issues at polling locations? – Sandra Sallee
      • Before the previous election in June, the State provided staff to go around with the Grady County maintenance crew to every polling station and check all the electrical wiring and make sure everything was good to go. – Denise Maddox
  • Agendas
    • Do you normally have an agenda? – Barbara Lowe
      • We usually do but tonight it was an open agenda. – Jim Bracewell/Melinda Butler
  • Provisional Ballots
    • People who come to vote and there is a problem, can still vote using a provisional ballot.  Do we have a good supply of provisional ballots?  Do they still have 3 days to make any corrections? – Sandra Sallee
      • Yes
      • We have enough and do not feel this will be an issue
      • They have 3 days from Election Day to bring in proof (Precinct card and ID) that they are a registered voter
      • The final decision is the Board of Registrars decision to make sure information is correct – Melinda Butler
  • Inactive Voters
    • If a person is an inactive voter, what does that mean? – Barbara Lowe
      • It does not kick them out.  It just puts them on the back burner because they have missed a couple of elections
      • They still can vote
      • Once they vote, they will be placed back on active status – Melinda Butler
  • Felony Removals
    • Are there any felons that will have to be removed this time? – Sandra Sallee
      • Yes
      • It will be done later
      • Very few meetings we have where we do not have felons to remove, sadly.

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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