Meeting opened with Public Comment
• First was a member of League of Women Voters stating that the state League will be issuing a press release regarding their concern over the statewide purge of voters. She was complementary about Cobb’s efforts to reach their voters on the purge list.
• Monica Delancy spoke about an initiative she spearheaded on election day. The kids were out of school on election day, so she hosted a civics education class for neighborhood kids. They held an “election” for mayor of their group. They talked about respect. Monica is a well-known Cobb County activist.
• “Andrea” (?) spoke about an issue at her polling place. I didn’t catch the location, but it was in a firehouse. An elderly voter could not access the polling place through the indicated entry. She believes he was not the only one who had issues and thinks it would be a good idea if a poll worker would occasionally check outside to see if anyone is having difficulty accessing the polling place.
• There were 2-3 other speakers who appeared to be associated with the poll monitoring program. They all spoke about issues with scanners, registration iPads (poll books) that had to be constantly reprogrammed. IT techs were overheard complaining that they were running from precinct to precinct to fix problems. The one electronic voting machine that was at each location – sometimes it was positioned in such a way that the screen was visible from multiple places in the room. The scanners did not always work and ballots had to be scanned face up, thereby making the ballot visible to poll workers assisting. No longer a secret ballot. A news reporter was present at one precinct and tried to ask questions about reported issues. They were turned away following a response of “no problems”. Another speaker expressed concern over a case of voted ballots being left at Kennesaw KE4A. The case was “sealed and cabled with a padlock to other equipment. It was recovered the next day.” (This detail was given in the report provided by the BOE at today’s meeting). Mention of Decatur County having issues with access codes; Cobb having issues with paper ballots. Results being presented to public as “rosier” than they truthfully were – misleading information. This speaker also brought up the topic of term limits – maybe Cobb needs new/better representation. I will defer to the reports you most likely received from the poll monitors with additional details about issues observed.
Janine Eveler spoke next about the election results. She said that the note regarding the items left at the Kennesaw location was included for transparency reasons. KE4A did not understand the instructions that all materials were to be returned to the main election office. It was sealed and secured and had not been breached. As for the reprogramming issues – this was the poll pass that was having to be reprogrammed because it kept asking for the voter’s party affiliation – even though this was a nonpartisan election. Even when they entered a party affiliation, it was still not working. Cobb County volunteered to pilot the new paper ballot system, which required printing of over 73,000 ballots to be distributed to the precincts. There were issues getting the ballots to their destinations – will need to re-think planning and logistics. She said that she would address the ballot privacy issues mentioned during Public Comment. They also have a meeting with the vendor on Friday and will talk about the issues with the scanner and the poll pass programming. Also, the election summary reports generated by the new system are not as detailed as the old system. This will also be discussed with the vendor. The cost to print the paper ballots for this small municipal election was $21,633.00 because a ballot had to be pre-printed for every registered voter. This cost will be reimbursed by the state since Cobb volunteered to test the system. As a comparison, the cost to print provisional ballots only for the Governor’s race in 2018 was $18,543 (on demand ballots) and
that a normal municipal election might only require $1000 for paper ballots printed. Human error also played a part in some of the issues encountered (wrong ballots issued that had to be spoiled).
Smyrna is the only location to have a run-off election in December.
Bartow County performed an audit as part of their process. In 2020, all locations must perform an audit before the results can be certified. The state will choose what will be audited in 2020.
Janine also presented the BOE meeting schedule for 2020 with the caveat that dates for certifications may need to be changed based on need for audits.
Meeting lasted for over an hour.
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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