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Dekalb County Board of Elections 9/19/23

  1. ROLL CALL: Present
    Karli Swift(At Large) Chair
    Vasu Abhiraman (D) Vice Chair
    Nancy Jester (R)
    Anthony Lewis (R)
    Susan MoLer (D)
    Passes 5 – 0
    Passes 5 – 0
    Robin Shahar: The voters being challenged may have not made errors on their applications.
    Challenge laws only apply to voters supplying false information, and other people shouldn’t be
    Karen Davenport: The current challenge law was passed by MAGA Republicans in the legislature
    who believe in falsehoods. The law is not in accordance with state ethics laws. It wastes the PME
    of county election departments. The SEB should ask the legislature to repeal it.
    Liz Throop: One can’t claim to care about the rights of people challenged due to mere
    administrative error, and also claim those people should be struck from the rolls just to keep the
    records clean.
    Steve Hagen: Challenges based on clerical errors are nonsense.
    Beth Levine: Rolls can be cleaned without voter challenges.
    Veronica Sciacca: Someone received a jury notice at her address but doesn’t live there. She
    wants to challenge that person’s voter registration.
    Gail Lee: She objects to paragraph 3b of Dekalb’s “Procedures for Responding to Voter
    Challenges Submitted Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 21-2-229” and considers the maLer urgent.
    Carmine Tripp: Dirty voter rolls discourage voters and depress turnout. She thinks leaving a
    bogus or non-legiPmate voter on the rolls cancels a legitimate elector’s vote.
    Vic Tripp: He doesn’t understand why “bogus” voters with birthdates 123 years ago aren’t
    removed from the rolls. He says voters listed with such birthdates should be investigated. If
    erroneous DOBS is the consensus, he thinks voters should be removed.

Bill Henderson: If DeKalb allows erroneous birthdates in the voter rolls, why should he think any
data in the rolls is accurate? He would like to see these challenged people’s voter registraPon
forms. In his work as a database manager, erroneous data is intolerable.
Judy Sophianopolous, via email: Appreciates elecPon workers and thinks it should be easy to
vote. Thinks challenges just amount to more work for staff.

    Director Smith: DeKalb has hired temporary workers to help process registrations. Some
    applicants have pending status regarding their citizenship. Of 11,247 NGE noPces sent out,
    3,276 were returned. The state checks voters who move out of state via ERIC. The county also uses
    the NCOA registry for list maintenance. DeKalb also updates rolls for voters who moved out of the county
    within Georgia.
    Dekalb is receiving and assembling their new “hubs.” LAT for the November 7 election is
    September 29 – November 2. There will be several countywide questions on the ballot, and
    these will be posted on their website soon. Current outreach includes events at Disability Link,
    Decatur First Baptist Church, and the Kingston MARTA staPon. A CommunicaPons and Public
    The affairs director starts next week.
    Jester says the department’s budget requests are more in line with what they will actually be
    spending – compared to previous years.
    Smith explains Dekalb bought wheeled hubs to move around the heavy old UPSs
    A. Challenges brought by Gail A. Lee
    Director Smith describes the many kinds of list maintenance done by staff throughout the year.
    She says they don’t routinely run data reports on inactive voters – which are the type of voters
    being challenged today. A staff member describes how, in addition to updating rolls, workers
    check data on driver’s licenses and collect voter signatures when people vote.
    Gail A. Lee: Says she submitted 150 challenges based on birthdates of 1900 or 1901; 98 remain
    unresolved. If DOBs are erroneous, the registrants might be younger than 18. Using a background report service “Instant Checkmate,” she determined voters on her list are actually between 29 and 80 years old. Lee would like to find out the DOBs listed on these peoples’ applications.
    Staff AUy BenneU Ryan says he’s not sure they can share applications with members of the public. A heated and lengthy discussion ensues.
    Gail A. Lee asks if “the system” will accept an application that is missing a date of birth.

Chair Swift responds that such questions should be answered at another time.
Gail A Lee says, “What we see here is a deliberate plan of entering false information in order
to bypass system safeguards to enable ineligible resident registrations to be added to the voter
rolls and they are ineligible if they do not have a date of birth.” (She doesn’t say who or what
entity is doing this deliberately.) Ms. Lee asks that these voters be removed from the rolls.
Jester moves to sustain the challenge.
Lewis offers a substitute motion, to table the challenge unPl staff has spent more Pme trying to
resolve the erroneous DOBs, but later withdraws it considering the deadline to complete
challenges by October 2.
Director Smith recounts the number of challenges, how many were resolved, and the ways they
were resolved. She notes that one of the people on the list cast a vote.
AUorney Ryan reviews the burden of proof required for challengers, which in this case would be
proving the electors are not citizens of the voting age population.
Abhiraman says the department welcomes flagging of erroneous data in the voter rolls, but he
doesn’t think challenges are the right conduit for flagging issues.
Moler says she doesn’t think members of the public can always understand what burden of
proof means.
Swift restates previous discussion and says she hopes Dr. Johnson of the SEB can help. Swi<
hopes the SEB and the state legislature come to agreement on challenge guidelines. She says
erroneous DOBs may have been entered by the SOS office or other counties.
Director Smith says that if someone comes in to vote whose ID shows DOB that doesn’t match
what’s on the rolls, they are asked to complete a new voter registration card and the rolls are
updated. A staff member says the one challenged person who voted had a reasonable DOB but
the rolls apparently were not updated to reflect it.
Jester advocates for sustaining the challenge. She thinks Ms. Lee has met her burden of proof
because there is “seriously messed up data.”
Abhiraman reads from 21-2-229, “The burden shall be on the elector making the challenge to
prove that the person being challenged is not qualified to remain on the list of electors,” and
advocates for voting against the challenge.
Vote to sustain the challenges fails 3 – 2.

B. Polling Place changes

Director Smith: Proposes Pleasantdale Road precinct will move to Pleasantdale Elementary; and
Clairmont Road precinct will move to Bridgepoint Church at Toco Hills.
Vote to approve passes 5 – 0.

C. Polling place Xmes and locations
Director Smith proposes voting hours for November 7 election:
Advanced VoPng Oct 16 –Nov 3, Mon – Fri 7am –7pm.
Saturdays, Oct 21 and 28th 9am – 6pm
Sundays, Oct 22 and 29th 12pm – 5pm.
Two Early Vote sites at 4280 Memorial be consolidated, while preserving access for disabled
voters; Early VoPng site Briarwood Rec to be replaced by Lynwood RecreaPon Center.
Vote to approve passes 5 – 0.
D. Calls for ElecXon
MoUer moves to hold countywide vote on the questions set out in HB 591, HB 593, and HB 594,
and that this be properly noticed. The questions pertain to homestead exemption and SPLOSTs.
Vote to approve passes 5 – 0.
E. Agreements
Director Smith asks the board to approve service agreements with election equipment companies.
Vote to approve passes 5 – 0.

    ExecuPve session to discuss administrative proceedings and ligation related to administrative
    proceedings, 6:55 to 7:25 pm. Upon reconvening, Chair Swi< says no votes were taken in ExecuPve
    Abhiraman describes the distress of a challenged voter in a nearby county.
    Jester says she is a sPckler for the rules, which should be administered in a clinical manner.
    Lewis says DeKalb ElecPons staff is the smallest and lowest paid of metro counties. Says citizens
    should feel free to speak to him a<er meePngs.
    MoUer says she hopes the SEB or legislature will provide more guidance on challenges. She
    notes that no database is ever perfect, but some acceptable margin of error for voter rolls might
    be established.
    SwiW says challenges should be based on voters, rather than on records of voters, and says she
    has not been presented with data that was known to be deliberately erroneous.

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