DeKalb Elections Board says 2020 elections were a success
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By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor
DeKalb County, GA — The term “unprecedented” may be overused these days, but DeKalb County voters definitely set records when turning out at the polls in the last 12 months.
As DeKalb County Elections director Erica Hamilton noted, a 62 percent turnout for a runoff is historic. The county’s rehabilitated website, social media presence, translated materials into Spanish and Korean and media relations are attributed to the uptick in voter participation.
Hamilton hopes voters continue their enthusiasm as the election cycle continues next month when seven candidates fight for the vacant House District 90 seat. Early voting begins Jan. 19 at DeKalb County’s Elections office at Memorial Drive and Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library. More information about this election appears at the end of this article.
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The 2020 election cycle included special elections, a general election, a hand count, a risk-limiting audit, and a runoff that spilled into January 2021. Voters elected DeKalb County sheriff, chief executive officer, commissioners, tax commissioner, school board members, state senators and representatives, United States senators, and United States president.
DeKalb County Elections director Erica Hamilton thanked staff, commissioners, board members and all the departments of the county, as well as external partners communications director Erik Burton and National Vote at Home Institute.
Hamilton said, “To the voters of DeKalb County: I can’t commend you enough.”
DeKalb County Board members met Jan. 15 to certify the Jan. 5 Senate runoff race, which put Georgia’s first Black Senator, Raphael Warnock, and Georgia’s first Jewish Senator, Jon Ossoff, into office – another extraordinary feat.
Board members voted unanimously to hold an after-action review meeting in March to review processes and prepare for future elections; and read live public comment into the record beginning in February.
DeKalb received another grant from Center for Tech and Civic Life for $246,000. In October, Civic Life gave DeKalb County $4.8 million to hire more personnel, purchase additional voting and mail ballot sorting machines, open and operate early voting and election day locations, sanitize equipment and purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for poll workers and voters.
Here is additional information about the special election for the House District 90 seat:
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To see a list of the candidates running for this position, click here.
DECATUR, Ga.—DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections (DeKalb VRE) has finalized details for the special election to fill the vacant Georgia House District 90 seat, previously held by long-time lawmaker Pamela Stephenson. On Friday, Jan. 15, DeKalb VRE’s board unanimously approved early voting and drop box locations for the Democratic primary election.
Advance voting begins Jan. 19 and concludes Feb. 5. Election Day is Feb. 9.
“Our office has actively been planning to prepare for the special election and has already started mailing absentee ballot applications on Jan. 10, so some voters may already have their applications in their mailboxes,” said DeKalb VRE Director Erica Hamilton. “With all the energy around our latest election cycle, we want to encourage those registered voters in House District 90 to come back to the polls for this special election.”
DeKalb VRE leaders also are encouraging voters opting to vote in person to practice social distancing and wear a mask to the polling locations.
“For your safety and ours, we strongly recommend voters follow CDC’s guidelines while in public,” Hamilton said. “We will actively clean polling machines and hard surfaces at all of our precincts but ask the community to also remain vigilant in helping us combat this pandemic while exercising their right to vote.”
Advance Voting Information
DeKalb VRE will host advance voting at two locations beginning Jan. 19 through Feb 5. Voting will take place during those days, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Weekend voting is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 30, 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Advance voting locations include DeKalb VRE’s office, located at 4380 Memorial Dr. in Decatur. Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library, located at 2861 Wesley Chapel Road in Decatur, will serve as the second advance voting location.
Drop Box Locations
Voters have five drop boxes that are available for absentee ballots. All drop box locations are under 24/7 surveillance.
Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library
2861 Wesley Chapel Road
Decatur, Ga. 30034
5137 Salem Road
Lithonia, Ga. 30038
VR&E Office (three boxes)
4380 Memorial Dr.
Decatur, Ga. 30032
Processing of Absentee Ballots
DeKalb VRE will begin opening absentee ballots on Jan. 25, at 10:30 a.m. and will begin scanning absentee ballots on Jan. 26, at 10:30 a.m. Both the opening and scanning of absentee ballots will take place at DeKalb VRE’s main office located at 4380 Memorial Drive in Decatur.
Election Day Information
The special election will be held on Feb. 9 for District 90 voters, which includes parts of DeKalb, Henry and Rockdale counties. A runoff election, if required, would be scheduled for March 9. Voters are required to cast their ballots at their assigned precinct on Election Day. To verify Election Day polling locations, visit www.DeKalbVotes.com. Polls are open 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Election Day.
For more information, call 404-298-4020 or visit www.DeKalbVotes.com.
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