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DeKalb Elections Board to move two Chamblee precincts to senior center

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DeKalb Elections Board to move two Chamblee precincts to senior center

From left: Elections Director Keisha Smith, Board Chair Dele Lowman Smith, Board Vice Chair Nancy Jester, Susan Mother, Karli Smith. Not pictured: Anthony Lewis, who was not in attendance. Photo by Logan C. Ritchie.

By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor 

DeKalb County, GA — DeKalb Elections Board held a special called meeting on Aug. 20, reviewing plans for the upcoming midterm elections. 

Early voting begins Oct. 17. For two consecutive meetings, board members discussed relocating a precinct in Chamblee. Stakeholders spoke during public comment, calling the public safety building intimidating and unacceptable as a polling location. 

Holding elections at the public safety building was meant to be temporary, Elections Director Keisha Smith confirmed. 

North DeKalb Senior Center is available to hold elections for the Chamblee (CE) and Chamblee II (CZ) precincts, Smith said. Staff is working on advertising the change. 

Board Vice Chair Nancy Jester asked if complaints were received by staff about holding elections at the public safety building. 

“Not to my knowledge,” said Smith. “Just the concerns in the last week or so.”

The board voted 4-0 to defer the item to Sept. 9, when the board will vote to approve changes in voting locations.

Smith said staff is working to increase the number of early voting sites to between 15 and 20, and asked for more time to confirm locations. Currently, 13 sites have been identified. 

Board members recognized the elections department is working with staff, budget and legislation constraints. Board member Karli Smith said she’d like to see as many early voting locations as possible spread evenly across the county. 

In accordance with voter laws SB202 each county is allowed one drop box, plus one drop box per 100,000 registered voters. That leaves Dekalb County with 6 drop boxes for absentee ballots, which must be located inside early voting locations. 

“We will work as hard as we can to meet the requirements,” said Smith. 

The board voted 4-0 to defer the agenda item to Sept. 9 for staff to confirm more locations. 

Key elections dates:

Aug. 22: First day to apply for an absentee ballot for the Nov. 8 election. 

Oct. 11: Last day to register to vote in the Nov. 8 election. [Note: Oct. 10 is a state holiday.]

Oct. 17: Early voting begins. 

Oct. 28: Last day to submit an absentee ballot application. 

Nov. 7: Last day to register to vote in the Nov. 8 runoff elections for federal races.

Nov. 8: Election day.  

In other news:

– Deputy Director Julietta Henry said Georgia State University is interested in holding a pop-up early voting event at either the Decatur or Clarkston campus. Details have not been released.

 – A contract was approved with a 4-0 vote to re-engage Profile PR as the department’s communication vendor in the amount of $222,500 through Jan. 22, 2023. 

– The board voted 4-0 to allow Smith to hire one of two software companies, Soch and Konnech, as the department’s vendor for elections software. The company will run software for Logic and Accuracy testing, compliance, inventory, poll worker training and more.  

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