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Dekalb Board of Elections Meeting 01/15/21


1.Adoption of the Agenda

Bobby Vu is asking for the adoption of the agenda. Anthony Lewis wants to add some items to the agenda to discuss briefly. One being an item that will allow them to make public comments live starting in the February meeting. Also wants to add an item that will allow them to set a date for a hearing of the 229 challenge that was leftover from the last special called meeting. Bobby Vu agreed that this would be a great idea to add to the agenda and so did everyone else. Susan Motter then wanted to add that their also wasn’t a slot for comments by the commissioners. So she wanted to recommend adding that. Bobby Vu then moved the commissioners comment between the portions in between 3 and 4. Then he moved Mr. Lewis two items to 5e and 5f. Bobby Vu wants to see if they could have a brief discussion on perhaps having a member of the county’s election and voter registration department be a liaison with the respective parties as well. Everybody was ok with that. Bobby vu then asked for the approval of the agenda. Everybody said I.

2.Adoption of Minutes 

Bobby Vu asked for the adoption of the minutes from meetings October to December. Motter made a comment saying earlier this morning she took time to compare what has been posted on the DeKalb election website with respect to the minutes and compared it to her daytime calendar as to our scheduled meetings then looked at the drafts that have been forwarded to us for review and approval. She identified what she proceeded to be a gap in the minutes not being either drafted put up for approval and review by the board or posted on the website. This period happened between July and October and there was an email that she copied the county attorneys on. Her list was as followed July 9 and 16 approved but not on website and August 21 September 14 and September 25 approved but not on website. She then welcomed everyone to double check. Vivian said she just found about it and that she will go back and check. Everyone agreed. Bobby Vu then motioned to adopt the minutes.  Everyone Agreed. 

3. Public Comments

  •  Terry Phillips read this :May be submitted by sending an email of one page or less to [email protected] and must be received between 12:00-1230 pm on the day of the meeting. The body of the email must include first and last name followed by your address. Abusive, profane or derogatory language will not be permitted. By submitting an email for public comment you agree to have your name, address, and email broadcast on the u stream and entered in the record in minutes. The DeKalb board of registration and elections reserve the right at the DeKalb Board of Registration and Elections sole digression to 1. add your email to the record/minutes without reading any of it into the broadcast or .2. Read All or a portion of your email into the record/minutes
  • Anthony Lewis then ask to extend the time to 1250 for public comments since they are just now agreeing to that. Nobody has an issue with extending the time since they were 20 minutes into the meeting

Monthly Commissioner Input or Observation

  • Commissioner Larry Johnson commented saying it was the best day of his life. He also sent a congrats because 62.2 of the residents of DeKalb came out and voted.  He was on the call with the bidden administration in the morning thanking them for their rescue plan. The world was watching DeKalb and they performed so good. Also a grant was past yesterday for 246000 for more technology for critic life (not definite on name 18:32) that will help increase technology. He wanted to thank the COO Mr. Williams for that. We now have a great foundation but can’t rest. 
  • Merida also wanted to thank the board of election and the directors for their hard work in the elections as well. She said they stepped and rose to the occasion
  • Bobby Vu then moved them to the Executive Session portion

4. Executive Session

Was cancelled for today and moved to the next session but first Viviane had something to say about the nature of executive session. As you know Georgia is governed by two sort of what you call sunshine laws. The laws are designed to create transparency in government. One relates to records it’s called The Open Records Act. It’s the state law which governs when a county or a city or any other governmental body must produce records in response to request by citizens.  The Open Meeting act is another law. The purpose of this act is to ensure that the government business is done in public. The public has the opportunity to hear it and know what’s happening. One part of this act is called The Executive Session. A public body can go into an Executive Session with their lawyer to discuss varies issues. They are limited and whoever calls for one must identify the reason, photos aren’t allowed to be taken in an executive session, when decisions are being made then they have to come out of the session and vote in public. The three primary areas where you can go to an executive session are: 1To talk about litigation or claims being made against that body 2. To talk about real estate 3. Personal Actions there is a statute that defines what you and can’t talk about when it relates to personal. For example, you can’t receive evidence or question witnesses in executive session. The clerk, department head, lawyer, body and director are allowed in the executive session. Minutes are required to be made and remain confidential 

5.New Business

A. Certification of the January 5 2021 Runoff – Baoky ask for a motion to certify the results of this election.  Susan Motter sub moves it while Mr. Lewis seconds it. Everyone certifies it. 

B. Advance Voting Times for the February 9 Special Election- Ms. Hamilton is speaking on behalf of the staff and she suggest that early voting start Tuesday January 19 – February 5 from 8-5 and one Saturday January 30 from 9-4. One location would be at the Election office and one at Wesley Chapel Library. Dele Lowe says she spoke to a handful of people and they were pleased not to only have Memorial Drive as an option. She was pleased herself with the idea and was ready to move forward. Baoky Vu then asked for a motion to approve the locations and times. Everyone agreed. Motion carried

C.2021 Meeting Schedule 

Bobby Vu ask if everyone ok with it. He then explains changes could be made as they went along. Dele Lowman then ask if they were typically meeting on the 2nd Thursday? Bobby Vu assures her that that was correct. Susan says she wants to confirm that it will be a schedule placed on the website. Erica Hamilton says that’s correct once the times are approved it will go up on the website. It’s always subject to change. Possible two elections in March.  We adjusted the March 9 date already Erica says its potential for a runoff in the House District 90 with 7 candidates on the ballot. Baoky Vu then asks for approval for the meeting schedule. The motion is carried/

Schedule of the Election Review Section: This was Dale request. Her hope was to do this for November and January. This is known as an after action review and we can schedule it for an upcoming meeting. Dele Loweman also goes on to say she will be happy to provide a template or approach that works in government for everyone to follow. Then I will ask for everyone to submit any questions or anything else you would like to see in conducting the review. Baoky Vu says it’s a great idea and also says it will give them time to gather input from the respectable political parties. As he is talking Susan is agreeing in. Vaoky says it’s important to gather feedback and experiences that everyone has had. Anthony Lewis agreed saying they should definitely have that review section. Dele Lowman agrees to forward the template over by March. Erik Burton then suggest they can also do a survey to make it quicker as appose to stretching out the timeline. Baoky says with that in mind let’s use it a resource for March and still he asks Erica Hamilton to send over the email.

5e. Live Public Comment –  Anthony Lewis says his hope is that they could actually have live public comments similar to what they had before we started doing zoom meetings. John Matelski says it’s always risk involve in that but the risk isn’t any greater if someone was to come in person. If they wanted to curse or do something inappropriate you would still have to deal with it temporarily.  So the bottom line is there is still a way to que people. They can ask to be put into the que and we can hear them audio only or it is video option. Either way we can put them if they do something inappropriate and that has happened before. The timing will be limited for the entire time frame for all comments as well as individual. We have to put some parameters around that as well. We have to make sure we do it legally and accommodate the citizens that want to speak. 16 minutes 8 people 2 minutes a piece was a suggested option by Baoky Vu. Then he says he will work with Ms. Hamilton to insert the live public section beginning in the February 2021 meeting. Vivian then suggest to extend the public live comment section to 25 minutes due to zoom delays technical difficulties etc. Dale suggest to appoint somebody (clerk perhaps) to manage that process to make sure it’s a smooth experience. Vivian says it’s a great idea. Terry Phillips says the transition between speakers may be longer but the decision on two minutes per person can stay the same with the overall being 25minutes. A person on staff can keep the time and notify you when you are exceeding the two-minute mark. Who would be the person and what would be your structure it will make it smoother to run meeting? Baoky Vu ask for motion to approve. 8 individuals 2 minutes Max 25 minutes to handle all of it. Lewis makes the motion. Motion carries.

Section 229 Challenges: Lewis wanted to set a hearing to hear this challenge. Irene advises to set a hearing date at a point following the February meeting so that they can adopt the formal written procedure regarding the challenge process. This meeting the public will have notice of it and will allow everyone to follow procedure for these challenges. She suggests hearing the procedures at the February meeting and schedule hearing for the March meeting. Vivene explains what goes on at hearing via zoom. Lewis wants to make sure they have adequate time. Its 160 people in the challenge he wants to make sure everyone gets the notice in adequate time. Erica assures him that he will. Lewis moved the board to adopt an action plan to set a hearing date for the 229 challenge from the most recent special called meeting which will allow new procedures to be voted on in February and schedule a hearing in march Motion carries.

Desire to have a AAR: Baoky Vu Concern about the communications with integrity of the system? They raise some ex whether vote review panels perhaps in their eyes were not independent. Perhaps somehow we can actually have a political party in the A zone.  That would help with the emails etc. I want to see how Ms. Hamilton can help with that. Susan wonders if they should limit the universe of people who can make comments or ask questions Dele Lowman backs Susan up and ask for clarity of the intent of this role. Baoky then speaks up and says they will limit it to the executive committee for a county party. He also said the DeKalb BOE chair expressed frustration about the fact of Poor line of communications on who should show up for voting review panel This is something needed to be addressed because we will wall always try to defend the argument of voter suppressions vs election integrity. Eric Burton then goes on to saying something that works well is their proactive communication with stake holders. If you can think through the questions before they happen it will minimize the back and forth. Ms. Hamilton says with the review panel we allow them to make their own schedules. Then with the new transition on how we are opening ballots the review schedule is no longer one day now it’s a couple days almost two weeks. They have a point of contact within their group and provide them a start date and have something from there to review as they come in. A lot of the Review Panel work during the date so we wanted to make it as accommodating as possible. They did not have to come in every day. Baoky says it will be helpful if they reach out to the county parties and offer to explain the whole process. Mr. Lewis suggest that both parties meet every month and a couple times of year a member of the board joins to answer questions. Vivian then cautions to make whatever process they use available to all political parties not just Democratic and Republican party.

Communication Update: Eric: 1. Educate voters about how to participate in the 2020 elections 2. Establish DeKalb VRE as a trusted resource for accurate and timely voter information 3. Elevate the standard of communication and outreach between DeKalb VRE and the public. Next Steps: 1. Creating “evergreen” content for 2. Finalize transition document for DeKalb’s VREs PIO 3. Special Election House District 90.  Everyone thanks Eric Susan goes as far as saying is a utility player.

Vote at Home Update: ???? nobody spoke up

Public Comments: Brandy Baker read the comments

1.Liz Throop is saying Congrats to DeKalb the decision to mail absentee ballots was a wise decision.  However, we need to reform the absentee ballot system. I hope you will contact legislators and help them understand that restricting absentee ballots add to not decrease burdens on county election offices.

2. Please encourage the state election board to allow absentee ballot clerk at a polling location and registration office to permit voters to return mail ballots show their id and have their ballot accepted for counting, (Joy Watson)

3. Savannah wants to know why the minutes haven’t been posted from different meetings on website\.

Directors Report: Ms. Hamilton starts to talk about the election overview. She then reads the Brookhaven proclamation.365 days of education more permanent staff advance voting site are some of the stuff that will be discussed in February election results, more quality control measure. Looking into getting mobile units to expand advance voting even more. Self-service kiosk so when someone comes up to the office on election day and they don’t know where to go they can go to the kiosk and it will print them out. Thanks everyone for the 2020 election going well.

Baoky VU ends meeting.

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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