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Dekalb County discusses Early voting hours and locations 3/10/22

MEMBERS PRESENT 

Dele Lowman Smith (D) Chair 

Nancy Jester (R) 

Anthony Lewis (R) 

Susan Motter (D) 

ABSENT 

Karli Swift (At Large) 

Called to order 4:30 by Dele Lowman Smith 

All members present approved the minutes. 

NINE PUBLIC COMMENTS: 

LAURIE EDWARDS, DUNWOODY: Asks that poll watcher duties be enumerated because it’s not clear in the poll worker manual. Currently, the manual says watchers are permitted behind closed spaces for  counting of votes, which could be contentious 

ELIZABETH DAVIS, DECATUR: The last election, there were eight Early Voting places; only 6 had drop off for Absentee Ballots, and only one had Sunday voting. Orthodox Jews can’t vote on Saturday.  Mail is slow. She wants more options next election cycle. (Apparently not aware of new  restrictions per SB202) 

MARCI MCCARTHY, BROOKHAVEN (DEKALB REP CHAIR): She doesn’t like that Dropboxes are sometimes in hallways of polling places because this means they are not constantly observed by poll workers or security personnel. She wants supervisors of Dropboxes to have a direct view of boxes. 

S COLLETTE FRICKS, DORAVILLE: Wants 7 am to 7 pm all week long during Early Voting. Such hours are needed by family caregivers, waitresses, and others who work long shifts. 

AKIKA BOWING, DECATUR: Wants 7 am to 7 pm voting during Early Voting. 

DR. JANE MEZOFF, DECATUR: Wants 7 am to 7 pm voting during Early Voting. Also wants more drop boxes. (Not sure if Mezoff considered that SB202 limits the number of Dropboxes to 1 per  100K voters)

STEPHEN BINNEY, CLARKSTON: Poll worker at Clairmont West. As a poll worker, he had a conversation with a poll watcher one time about posting tapes. Binney’s manager told him not to say helpful things to poll watchers. Binney thinks there should be published guidelines. He’s also curious about redistricting. 

VICTORIA WEBB, AVONDALE ESTATES: Wants 7 am to 7 pm access during Early Voting. Wonders if her membership on Avondale Community Council disqualifies her from being a poll worker.  

CHERYL STERLING, ATLANTA: Wonders if citizens can help Elections Department get funding increase from County. 

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS – none 

EXECUTIVE SESSION – none 

COMMUNICATIONS UPDATE: Erik Burton says he’s working with the new Executive Director.  Working on Covid plan in case there are new issues, new Social Media campaign to encourage  Absentee requests. He’s working toward a marketing plan for new districts, but maps are still not finalized. Erin Austin in the Elections Office could hold popup educational/marketing events if requested. Burton’s going to update the website.  

Jester: Noting news about the Primary date potentially delayed due to the redistricting. 

DIRECTOR’S REPORT  

TWYLA HART: Redistricting due date is 2/18 but most county lines are still not approved by Leg.  State has not communicated to counties about whether the 2/18 deadline might change.  DeKalb lines are still not approved. Belinda Woods, Wanda Drake, and Jay Catherwood will implement changes once approved, plus bringing in four temps to help. The job involves lots of data entry. DeKalb’s redistricting process will update the Board of Commissioners and Board of Ed Districts. 

Early Voting: still finalizing a list of polling places. Hart will share last years’ turnout at various precincts with the Board.  

New Voter Registration System: Belinda Woods, Jay Catherwood, Tiffany Gilbert, Twyla will work on the new vendor update.  

Board thanks Twyla for being Acting Director, thanks to all employees. 

Motter says they should work on updating poll worker training.  Jester says it would be fine for citizens to write Board of Commissioners about increasing the budget. 

ADJOURN 5:14

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