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Dekalb Board of Election meeting 1/27/2023

Dele Lowman Smith (D) Chair
Nancy Jester (R)
Anthony Lewis (R)
Susan Motter (D)
Karli Swift (At Large)
Called to order (not broadcast)

    Add to agenda the discussion of remote engagement for BRE members.

    December 12, 2022 Scheduled Meeting: passed


    Emailed public comments
    K Swift notes that that emailed comments are currently accepted from 12 to 12:30, before a noon
    meeting – meaning comments can come in during a meeting, therefore aren’t read aloud. Swift suggests having an earlier window, so that comments can be received and read aloud during the meeting. Jester suggests public comments could be read at end of meeting, or they could allow people to send in comments earlier. Jester supports public comments being read into record.
    DL Smith suggests such changes might require amendment of the bylaws. She says board may need
    new, designated BRE clerk to coordinate presenting emails that come in at the last minute. She suggests they write language that would be applicable regardless of the time of day of a meeting.
    Lawyer will check feasibility of such changes and report back.
    Remote BRE participation
    T Lewis proposes allowing BRE members to attend and vote remotely, etc.
    Motter says she thinks it’s OK to participate remotely or vote remotely if there’s a quorum present.
    Jester thinks it’s good for overall engagement, and says it worked for BOCC.
    Lawyer will check feasibility of such changes and report back.


K Smith: department will debrief staff on the General and Runoff, once they’ve analyzed the data. Said a Poll worker appreciation event is being planned. Said they took four people to SOS systems training in Athens. The training’s focus was on how to train others on GARVIS, Epollbooks, and EMS tools. She said DeKalb will be hosting regional GARVIS training in Stonecrest for 60 to 100 people tomorrow. GARVIS launches soon.

The annual Jekyll Island GAVREO conference to be Feb 12 –15. All VRE staff and several members will attend in person or virtually.
Workshops at the event will fulfill continuing education requirments to maintain certification.
Smith announced Duane Daniel is the new administrative services manager overseeing budget, human
resources, information technology, purchasing, and process management functions. Erica Lee is new
person assisting in the mail room and the warehouse at Stonecrest. More hires are planned.
Smith said she is asking for $11.5 m funding for FY 2023.
No elections are scheduled for first quarter. They are busy preparing for 2024, scrubbing the website of
obsolete data; creating more public awareness about everything from how to fill out and deliver
absentee ballots to more about provisional voting. She wants to create video tutorials and more.
They are trying to recruit more poll workers by working with colleges and local groups.

Van der els said they are tracking election relevant bills: HB17 requires counties lock dropboxes when not in use; requires better chain of custody for ballots:
GovAff; 2nd reading.
HB48 makes DA and Solicitor races nonpartisan: GovAff, 2nd reading.
HR 18 introduces independent commission to draw some districts for redistricting: Judiciary Committee.
HB 42 relates to how school superintendents chosen: Education Committee.
HB2 has been prefiled. It’s about lengthening the runoff schedule.
HB10 prefiled, requires the SOS allow a system for the blind to vote on their own electronic devices,
similar to UOCAVA voters.
City of Decatur redistricting is expected to be taken up by the General Assembly.
Jester: says it’s OK for the BRE to weigh in on basic “nuts and bolts” sorts of bills, but they should stay
away from potentially partisan or “political” issues. Motter concurs, characterizing these as process,
procedures, timing, and direct responsibilities issues. Lewis concurs. Swift suggests the BRE be proactive and make suggestions to the legislature about how elections can be run better. DL Smith adds “voter access” to things pertinent to BRE, and recalls that the previous board voted to oppose SB202 and doing so had an impact, meaning there’s precedent for their taking positions. She suggests the BRE engage more with State Election Board, not just the SOS.
Jester points out the county has a lobbyist, and the BRE could engage on bills that affect logistics and
operations of elections, but should steer clear of partisan positions. Other board members concur.
Lowman Smith recalls BRE sent a letter about SB202. Suggests they engage more with the SEB (State
Elections Board) in the future. At Lowman Smith’s suggestion, BRE moves Election Cycle Debrief ahead
in the agenda.

Consensus of the board is to hold a public Special Call meeting, similar to event at Porter Sanford in
2022, for debriefing. Jester mentions that the Republicans have already created their own assessment.

K Smith announced that DeKalb is newly designated as a Center for Election Excellence from Tech and
Civic Life, receiving $2 million grant. DeKalb is the only county in Georgia to receive one, and only 16
were accepted out of over 90 who applied nationwide. The grant will help provide tools and resources,
training, mentorship, resources, and serve as a support system.
DL Smith: Because of SB202, the funds have to go to the county, but hopefully the department will get
them back and they will help with process systems.

Board comments
Motter commends staff for getting the grant.


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