DeKalb Board of Elections: What if they held a meeting and everybody came?

Cindy Thomas (center, in orange) prepares to fight challenge to her candidacy Correction/clarification: The actions taken by the board regarding the Decatur voter purges were two 5-0 votes to reconsider the purges, but the board did not reverse them—during discussion, the issue was rendered moot because voters in question had changed their registration. By Jonathan Grant @Brambleman Thursday’s DeKalb Board of Elections meeting was epic, and not only because it lasted nearly two hours. In addition to normal business, the session featured a political soap opera, a dramatic exit by an outraged bureaucrat, and a reversal of a botched voter purge at the August meeting. That last matter was punctuated with a rant by the board’s hypersensitive chairman about the bad publicity…

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Making elections sporting again: Big crowd cheers Stacey Abrams launch of Georgia Fair Fight 2020

By Jonathan Grant @Brambleman Several hundred supporters packed the semi-sweltering auditorium at Gwinnett County’s Annistown Elementary School Saturday afternoon for the Georgia launch of Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight 2020. The venue—a poll location in 2018 that drew national attention, in a bad way—was chosen as a symbol of the brokenness of Georgia’s voting systems. “We know that even though Stacey Abrams is not our governor, we did win,” declared Gwinnett School Board member Everton Blair, Jr., an introductory speaker at the event. That Georgia’s election was stolen was an article of faith among the crowd. Not just faith. Reason. Brian Kemp didn’t fight fair, and the deck was stacked to begin with. Georgia’s voting system is filled with flaws, mistakes, and an unfortunate history…

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We need to talk about the DeKalb Board of Elections

By Jonathan Grant @Brambleman The DeKalb Board of Elections has more than its share of problems and several voting rights activists and grassroots volunteers spoke out about those issues and suppport for an ongoing audit at today’s DeKalb Board of Commissioners meeting. Liz Throop, Betsy Schwalbach, and others outlined many of the problems DeKalb voters faced last November: long lines, inadequate facilities for early voting, and problems with absentee ballots highlighted their list of concerns. This included 4,700 missing absentee ballots in DeKalb that remain a matter of dispute and investigation (supposedly) by the Secretary of State’s office. As a result of this and other issues, thousands of DeKalb Citizens were unable to vote in the general election. Worth noting: DeKalb had…

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Spread the Vote fights voter suppression. You can help today!

Time-sensitive information Spread the Vote, a non-partisan organization that helps people get photo IDs so they can vote, is the middle of a challenge fundraiser. The goal: $20,000 in donations by May 28 (next Tuesday) to qualify for a $20,000 matching grant from a generous donor. According to the group’s founder, this will enable Spread the Vote to provide for 1,000 photo IDs. Click here to donate.  Click here to volunteer. Photo IDs and voter suppression As soon as Republicans gained control of the Georgia General Assembly in 2005, they passed a restrictive photo ID law for voting, because with great power comes great fear of losing said power. The concept was easy to sell to the public. Photo IDs prevent voter fraud, right? And…

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DeKalb Commission moves ahead with Board of Elections audit

Above: Line for early voting at Tucker Library, Oct. 27, 2019 Jonathan Grant @Brambleman DeKalb’s Board of Registrations and Elections is in drastic need of an upgrade–increased staffing and technological improvements, obviously. It has operational and leadership issues as well, as people who deal with the Board can attest. And did. Eight DeKalb residents showed up today to speak in favor of an audit and election reform. One of today’s speakers, Whitney McGinniss, made the news last fall over her absentee ballot issues in DeKalb and provided a brief recount today. As a regular Board observer, I had a few things to say, as well (see below). The audit proposal for the Board, moved forward by DeKalb County Commissioners Larry Johnson and Mereda…

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DeKalb Board of Elections sets up early voting, goes into sketchy executive session

Jonathan Grant @Brambleman UPDATE: The Board of Elections (presumably the staff) has relocated the Atlanta in DeKalb early voting site to the Bessie Branham Recreation Center, 2051 Delano Drive NE Atlanta, GA 30317. The Board  originally approved Coan Park Recreation Center. No reason given for the change. Big numbers During discussion, Executive Director Erica Hamilton said that the DeKalb Board of Elections has about 40,000 voter registration applications pending and is receiving absentee ballot requests at the rate of “about 500 a day.” Board Chairman Samuel Tillman called that “a good thing” because it would help alleviate lines at the polls on election day. Not sure how staff (there are only 15 or 16 full-timers) feels about that. Hamilton also said the Board…

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