Dekalb County Specially Called Board of Elections Meeting 10/24/20

Dear Board Members:
I was encouraged that the BOCC Ops Committee is concerned about voter wait-times. Plans for deputy registrars and other measures discussed in their meeting could help ease wait times. But this board needs to go farther. Director Hamilton’s plans to wait to create more Emergency Paper Ballots if needed were not reassuring. Her plan to print 20% is inadequate given the high turnout expected and the problematic software that is running the BMDs. Insist that DeKalb follow the Brennan Center recommendation to print Emergency Ballots for 40% of voters. Hamilton’s remarks at the OPS meeting that Emergency Ballots are only used if BMDs become inoperable doesn’t make sense. There are too few Poll Pads, they often don’t work or work too slowly, and have proven to be the bottleneck in voter wait times. If Poll Pads cannot encode ballot access cards,
there is no time for a poll manager to run around and put in access codes on everyone’s BMDs. Rule 183-1-12-.11. 2 (c) states that Emergency Ballots are to be used when wait times exceed 30 minutes. We all know wait times in many Early Voting locations have far exceeded that already. Do not
fall for tricky interpretations such as “wait times” meaning waits after voters are checked in, or waits after 100% of equipment has failed.
Hamilton referred to a “training mishap” that kept Ray of Hope from processing voters for hours on June 9 th . There must be no training mishaps this election. Hamilton should explain to poll managers what constitutes an emergency warranting the use of Emergency Ballots, and tell them legally they have the authorization to use them if they cannot get prompt permission from her at the height of an emergency.

-Public Comment

*Director Hamilton said in DeKalb Ops Committee meeting that Emergency ballots aren’t used unless all the voting machines fail. This is false and they need to change training to reflect SEB Rule 183-1-12-.11. 2 (c) which says emergency ballots are to be used if wait times exceed 30 minutes. She should follow Brennan Center recommendations and print Emergency Paper Ballots for 40% of voters.

*Indivisible GA04, Indivisible Marching Buddies, Necessary Trouble, and DeKalb Dems will station volunteers at old voting locations to help voters find new polling places. The elections office says they will be doing this, but signs were never put up or were removed for June 9th election. The 31 location changes are at https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/sites/default/files/users/user2778/DeKalbPollingLocationChanges_102320.pdf

*DeKalb BRE has not posted meeting minutes, which include public comments, since June. Public comments are not read at meeting but must be submitted by email. Therefore recent public comments are not public (!!)

*Deputizing ACLU volunteers to help process voters who are turning in absentees; Scheduling ballot processing and making formal notification of it; Dropbox locations; contracts with NHAVI consultants; more check in equipment; new space for ballot processing; staffing; who threw whom under the bus.

*Dele Lowman Smith and Susan Motter continue to press for accountability and voter access, broader advertising of new polling place locations. They voted unanimously to approve the 31 polling place relocations (at this very late date)

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