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Whitfield County Board of Elections Meeting 9/8/22

Members present: Stephen Kelehear (chair), Carol Byers
Registrar: Mary Hammontree

Old Business
a. Shelving update—M. Hammontree reported new shelving has been installed, doubling the space
they have to store voting equipment and other supplies.
b. Precinct cards, Antioch and Westside—Hammontree said the polling sites for these precincts
have changed, and precinct cards have been sent to voters, indicating the new locations.
New Business
a. Military ballots—Hammontree reported emails are going out on September 20 to military
voters. The voters will return completed ballots by mail.
b. Absentee ballot applications—Hammontree said they have received 460 applications, most from
elderly residents. Ballots will be mailed on October 10.
c. Logic and accuracy testing—the L&A testing has been delayed until next week, Hammontree
d. Write-in candidate—Hammontree said, for the first time in her tenure, a write-in candidate has
qualified to run for a county commissioner office. His name will not be on the ballot.
Hammontree went over the voting schedule with the board.
S. Kelehear made a brief statement about two events in the news. The first occurred in Coffee County
where a registrar “didn’t do what she’s supposed to do,” by letting people from the Republican Party
have access to voting machines after an election. She in effect “gave them the key to the safe deposit box.”
His second point was two or three counties have done manual recounts and found no errors in the
machine counts.
Eight persons in the audience came to voice their concerns about the use of machines for voting and
tallying the votes. There was a back-and-forth exchange between them and the board and registrar.
They asked about software updates and certifying the machines. Hammontree responded an update
was done earlier in the year and the machine has been certified. She said they are and no updates are
done without Secretary of State approval. She went on the explain the L and A testing process.
Another person asked about the missing votes in a recent DeKalb County election. Hammontree and
Kelehear said this was a programming (human) error, not a machine error.
A couple of people in the audience objected that cybersecurity experts say the L and A testing does not
do a thorough job of checking for problems. One mentioned developers create ballots at home while
connected to the internet. These ballots could be infected with malware. Hammontree said ballots are
no longer prepared by developers at home.

C. Byers told them she recalls the time it used to take to hand count absentee ballots, subjecting the
tally to human errors.
Kelehear stated the board does not think paper ballots are warranted because they do not see a
problem. If they do find a problem with the machines then they might reconsider. In response to a
comment about the QR codes on the printed ballots, Kelehear said they think the QR codes are
problematic but outside the board’s control.
In response to questions from the audience, Hammontree explained the election certification process
and the procedures for purging voter rolls.

Did you know that the public can attend Board of Registration and Elections meetings? 

These meetings are open to the public by Georgia law.  

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