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Cobb County Board of Elections Meeting 11/13/20

Meeting called to order at 12:06pm

Public Comments

Abby Oyegun – attorney with Asian American election protection organization.  She mainly commended the Cobb County Elections staff on their handling of the November 3rd election.

Jackie Bettadapur – Chair of Cobb County Democrats.  Also commended the staff for the well run election.  No significant reports of issues, notable improvement over several previous elections, especially the expanded access to absentee ballots and early voting times and locations; the online portal.  Unfortunately, a lot of folks are not happy with the results.  Where were these concerns in 2018?  Where were these folks when thousands of voters were purged or ballots rejected in previous elections.  When they lose, they howl.  GOP are sore losers and are now wasting taxpayers’ money on the recount.

Lindsay Sieber (sp?) – Echo previous comments.  She served as a poll worker and thought the election ran smoothly and competently.  She is aware that there were a number of changes made to help this election go well.  She would like to learn more about which changes were successful and where there might be room for improvement.

Monica Delancy (activist) – her connection was breaking up a lot, so much of what she said was indistinguishable.  She did agree that Cobb did well in handling the election.  She had a special thank you for the way last minute precinct changes were handled with great signage and notices about where to go.  She also had a thank you for the groups that handed out water and snacks and even a live DJ (?).  Her concerns remain for the numerous folks who are being evicted during the pandemic and will not have a home address to list for voting purposes.  Don’t penalize people for being homeless.  She also feels that voter education should continue, not only to keep folks voting, but to educate them about who they are voting for.  She knows of folks who just voted a straight party ticket and couldn’t even name the individuals they voted for.

One speaker who had signed up to speak did not appear to be logged in.

Election Report

Janine Eveler

Assured everyone that the way they handled late ballots was nothing new, it’s the way they’ve always performed it, very transparent about process.

Roswell 01 had two scanners – they compared paper ballots to the upload reports and found that one scanner had not been uploaded.  That was taken care of as part of the regular audit and balancing.

In another instance, a scanner jammed.  Per instructions, voters put 24 ballots through an emergency slot.  These ballots were supposed to be put into a red envelope to be scanned at the main office.  They were not.  They were mixed in with already scanned ballots for that particular scanner.  So, at the main office, since they didn’t know which ballots had not been scanned, they zeroed out that scanner and rescanned the entire batch.

Also, there were 2 ballots that kicked out for signature missing or mismatched.  Voters were contacted and asked to fill out and return an affidavit.  The affidavit images returned (photos) were too small to be read, voters corrected this issue, but the two ballots were inadvertently put in the rejected pile.  Party appointees were called in to duplicate the ballots.  These had not yet been scanned at the time of the meeting, so totals presented will be adjusted by 2 for these accepted ballots.

After Election Report

Janine Eveler

A summary report was presented on screen share.  I will try to obtain a copy once it is available on the website.

Voter turnout was at 73.76%

537,611 registered voters; 396551 voted.

Voted by mail: Issued 156,408; Rec’d and counted by election day 148,479; rec’d and counted after election day (UOCAVA) 19

UOCAVA: Issued 1824; Rec’d and counted by election day 1352; rec’d and counted after election day 59

In Person Voting: 174,980; counted 174,979 (1 spoiled)

Janine felt the election did run smoothly.  Election day went well mainly due to the number of voters who voted early or by mail.

Jessica Brooks had a question about how many folks requested an absentee ballot but then changed their mind and voted in person.  Janine did not have a breakdown for that but did offer that 30,000+ ballots were cancelled or spoiled.

Phil Daniell had questions about how some of the numbers presented in the summary balanced out.  Sounded like he was confused about the number of registered voters (537,611) as opposed to the number who actually voted (396,551).  I wasn’t quite clear on what he was asking.  Janine gave a breakdown of the number of individuals who actually voted.

On election day: 71,117

Advance voting: 174,979

Absentee: 149,911

Provisional: 544

Provisional votes were mostly folks who showed up at the wrong precinct.  Those ballots had to be duplicated on correct ballot to be scanned.  A few others were for eligibility questions in which voters were given 3 days to verify.  Others had to later provide copies of ID because they didn’t have it when they voted.

Motion to Certify: Yes (5)

Approval of the Meeting Minutes for 10/27 and 11/3: Yes (5)

Audit Update

Janine Eveler

Slow start this morning, teams had orientation and instructions.  Hand count to be completed by 11:59pm on Wednesday 11/18/20.  Board member, Jessica Brooks, had observed, and noted that it was slow at first, but then counters found a rhythm.  Both parties are allowed to have observers, 1 per party for every 10 tables (teams of 2).  These observers were assigned by the state committees rather than the county.  Teams made up of poll workers, employees, members of various agencies.  In order to prevent collusion, the first 40 individuals to arrive were each assigned to a different table, the next 40 to arrive were added as the second member to each table.  Prevented family and friends or people with alliances from being on the same team.  On each table were 5 bins (Trump, Biden, Jorgenson, Write-ins, No Vote).  Each ballot is viewed by both team members who must agree on which bin it goes in.  Each box of ballots received was sealed after election and the seal must be confirmed and then broken (chain of custody). Each box is recounted to confirm its contents before sorting. 

Write-in votes must have been certified by having the individual who was the write-in submit a form to the superintendent that they are running for the office.  If a voter did not fill in the bubble for Trump, Biden, or Jorgenson, but wrote in one of their names on the Write-in line, it is counted as a No Vote.  Must use the bubble.

There is an observation area roped off for the public to observe.  Since there are 40 teams, each party was allowed 4 monitors.  By law, there are only two major parties, so only Republicans and Democrats were allowed to be monitors.

Janine was asked by Phil if she thought the job could be finished by the deadline.  She said it was too early to tell.

As requested, I entered a question in the meeting chat area.  Will Cobb County be automatically sending absentee ballots for the January run-off to voters who requested one for the November election?  The answer was No.  If you want an absentee ballot for the January 5, 2021 runoff election, you must request one.  Exception: if you are disabled or over age 65, and you checked the box indicating that on a previous request in this election cycle, you will automatically receive an absentee ballot for the January runoff because it is part of the same election cycle.

Phil reminded everyone to use MyVoterPage or BallotTracks to track your absentee ballot.

Next regular meeting, December 14, 2020 at 4pm.

Meeting adjourned at 12:54pm.

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