Whitfield County Board of Elections Meeting 08/12/21

Members present: Stephen Kelehear (chair), Carol Byers, Rob Cowan

Registrar: Mary Hammontree

  1. Municipal elections—M. Hammontree reported the qualifying times and election dates for local elections. The changes in the street maps have been made by the municipalities. 
  2. Absentee ballot form—Hammontree passed around an absentee ballot application form. It’s a page front and back in small print. The reaction from the board members was the elderly will have a difficult time completing the form, making it more difficult to vote. “We’re going in the wrong direction.” She noted third parties sending out the form will have to have their names on it. There was a discussion that moving the absentee ballot box to inside the courthouse and being available only during business hours will make it more difficult for elderly voters. R. Cowan asked if the ballot box will be available on election day. Hammontree said she didn’t think so, but she would check. Hammontree noted they will be scheduling training for poll managers on the new forms coming from the state. She also said they are getting a lot of open records requests.
  3. Local election goal—Two of Hammontree’s goals are to increase turnout in local elections and to formulate a disaster recovery plan. Concerning the former:  
  1. She brought up the idea of having a sign in each city with the election dates and other info on it. S. Kelehear suggested a digital sign like those used by the street department. Hammontree said she’ll check on it. 
  2. She said she is checking on having rides to the polls available, using existing transit systems. If they provide them, the rides could be advertised in senior centers.
  3. Code Red 911—A person with the 911 call center talked to Hammontree about the possibility of using the Code Red 911 function to remind voters (who would have to sign up for it) about voting during early voting and on election day. She said it could also be used for sending messages to poll workers. The board members supported her suggestions.
  1. GAVREO conference—This a state association of voter registration and election officials. They are holding training on the voting changes August 29-September 1. Hammontree and two staff members will be attending.
  2. Adobe Suites—Hammontree reported she was given a license for Adobe Suites, which can be used to make flyers and posters. She urged board members to give her suggestion for content.
  3. Antioch precinct—Hammontree announced the Antioch precinct will be moved to a new community center when it’s completed this fall. She said it’s a better facility and is close to the old location.

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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