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Douglas County Board of Elections Meeting 03/12/21

Members present: Myesha Good (chair), Robert Proctor, Maurice Hurry

Director: Milton Kidd

Operations report from Milton Kidd

  1. They have added office space, paid for with grant funds, to house temporary staff during larger elections.
  2. On March 5, they attended a regional meeting with the Secretary of State’s Office: 
  1. SOS staff said because Census data won’t be available until September, new districts won’t be established until November.
  2. In the next few weeks, SOS will be going through a confirmation process to identify voters who haven’t participated in the last two general elections. In response to a question from Good, he said these voters would be sent letters asking them to confirm their residence. If they had moved, the county staff would notify the county or state they moved to. If they didn’t respond to the confirmation request within forty days, they would be put in inactive status, though they could not be removed from the rolls for eight to ten years.
  3. SOS staff went over current bills in the General Assembly. Kidd summarized the provisions of HB 531 and SB 241, which have crossed over. He noted that HB 531 would eliminate county BOE from receiving grant funds, which Douglas County relied on for the 2020 cycle and continues to use. Also, HR 1, which is Congressional legislation, was summarized by SOS staff.
  4. Hurry asked if space had been found for the mobile voting unit the county will be receiving later this year and that was purchased with grant funds. Kidd said a garage will be built on county property. Proctor asked if grant funds will cover the cost for the garage. Kidd said they will.
  • New board member Steve Sutton
  • Agenda approved; no citizen comments
  • 46 felons tried to register and are being removed from voting roles. 
  • Audit of past election practices/things to improve
    • New office space for people to review absentee ballots
      • Received a grant to fund it
  • Discussion of the new legislation in GA legislature (HB531, SB241) . Discussed w/ state board at a recent meeting
    • Because census data will be postponed, the process of redistricting will be tentatively scheduled for November pending the State getting the census data in September 
    • Soon state will reach out to voters who have not participated in the last two elections w/ confirmation notices
      • The counties have to use their own funds to mail out the notices
      • Starts a 40-day clock in which those voters have to respond to the notice and confirm their information is correct
      • If you don’t return after the window, their registration is moved to “inactive” 
      • You remain inactive 8-10 years and then you go to “delete status” 
    • New legislation will eliminate excused absentee voting, raise age limits, change verification process from signature to include DL or state ID number. 
      • Discussion of federal legislation (HR1 For the People’s Act) which will if passed reinstate part of Section 5 of the VRA which requires counties and state governments to require pre-clearance for any election changes.
    • Shorten absentee voting window, make officials mail the ballots until 4 weeks prior to election, limit early voting period, eliminate Sunday early voting. Allow drop boxes inside voting locations but only 1/100k residents. For Douglas County this will eliminate ALL BUT ONE drop box and it would have to be physically inside the court house.
    • Would limit Mobile Voting Units to emergency purposes only.
    • County offices can’t count provisional ballots from the wrong precinct. 
    • Would bar counties from getting any grant funding. This would be bad for Douglas county because they were able to process the 2020 election cycle only because of grant funding.
  • County has secured a spot for the mobile voting unit inside of the current fleet complex 
    • Working with a builder to construct a “garage” type thing for it. 
  • Grant funding is a huge part of their current budget 
  • Adjourned

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