In response to public outcry over the November 2018 mid-term election, DeKalb County Commissioners hired consultants to do a process review of the Elections Department. We now have the consultants’ report that addresses the problems that DeKalb voters face, and recommends solutions for avoiding the problems in the future. Implementing these recommendations before the general election is critical. However, the DeKalb County Elections Department has been slow to adjust and has pushed back on implementing the consultants’ recommendations.
The DeKalb County Board of Elections must immediately implement the following recommendations in time to meet the November 3rd election challenges:
DeKalb County Democratic Committee will be well represented at the 2020 Democratic Convention. Those who are active in the county committee or represent DeKalb as an elected official (both former or current) make up over 10% of the Georgia Delegation. In addition, our former County Chair, Barbara Campbell, was elected to serve on the Rules Committee for the Democratic Convention. Barbara Campbell, “I am so honored to represent my state and my denomination on this important committee. This committee as implied sets the rules for the convention. To have found favor with God and my fellow state committee members is heartwarming.” Here is a breakdown of the delegation based on DCDC membership, leadership and elected representation:
Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of a well functioning democracy. What we witnessed on June 9th put that goal at risk in Dekalb County and eroded voter’s confidence in the process. Our poll monitors and members reported wide ranging issues throughout the primary process including issues with timely processing of absentee ballot requests, receipt of actual ballots, submission acknowledgement and the actual counting of ballots. We also saw many problems on Election Day starting with last minute polling place changes, lack of voter notification of those changes, equipment issues, and long lines at polling locations. These issues all served to disenfranchise voters and are unacceptable. We must and can do better in Dekalb County. I am writing to demand that immediate improvements be made to ensure future elections support the right of every voter in Dekalb County to cast their ballot without barriers.
With historic turn out anticipated in the November general election, it is imperative that significant actions be taken now. Dekalb Dems stand ready to support this process including advocating for required funding investments. Specifically, we ask that you as the officials responsible for elections in this county to:
Fully adopt and implement the recommendations and action plan laid out in the May 29th consultant report by The Elections Group. We appreciate the investment in this consultant engagement and strongly support their recommendations. The comprehensive report focuses on filling identified critical gaps and positioning Dekalb County as a leader in administering elections. As they advocated, these improvements are ONLY possible with increased investment in executive level staffing, space, systems and equipment.
Prioritize actions to improve the vote by mail process. This includes immediate improvements in the current process while planning strategically to implement future changes made possible by the Secretary of State request portal. While we saw record numbers of voters choosing to vote by mail for the June 9th primary, we also heard significant voter frustration with the process—and our monitors witnessed the laborious manual process of processing of these ballots. Improvements are needed for this to be viable in November, both to address anticipated volume and for a potentially serious COVID environment.
Proactively plan for Election Day in November when record turn out is expected. First by encouraging voters to use vote by mail and early voting options and second with a robust plan for accessible polling locations that can accommodate the new voting system and equipment, and recruitment and training of poll workers to adequately staff. We are aware of numerous community organizations that are well positioned to assist with poll worker recruitment and encourage your collaboration to enlist this support.
Communicate, communicate, communicate with voters and stakeholders. Transparency is essential to regain voter confidence and collaboration with many stakeholders will also support this goal. From a user friendly web site to active social media, all means need to be taken to encourage and educate regarding vote by mail and early voting options to lessen the burden on Election Day. An intentional comprehensive communication plan with dedicated staffing is required to advance these strategies.
I know you share the goal of providing accessible, efficient and fair elections in Dekalb County and we look forward to working with you as actions are taken to reach these goals.
John Jackson Chair Dekalb County Democratic Committee
Due to the Public Health State of Emergency, Georgia’s Secretary of State has postponed both the Presidential Preference Primary, originally scheduled for March 24, and the General Election Primary, originally scheduled for May 19. Both primaries are now scheduled for June 9.
In-person early voting will resume on May 18 and run until June 5. However, in-person voting locations will likely be limited due to COVID-19-related health concerns.
There will be 27 DeKalb polling location changes coming for the June 9 primary. We are still encouraging everyone to vote-by-mail. However, if you’re voting in-person, please check your My Voter Page or DeKalbVotes.com before heading to the polls. Keep in mind that these changes are still pending. Early voting has begun. Click here for more info on early voting. The pending changes below:
The Democratic Party of Georgia State Committee will convene remotely via video conference call on Saturday, June 27, at 12 noon. The main item of business will be electing Georgia’s DNC Members for the 2020-24 term. These DNC members will officially take office immediately following the closing gavel of the 2020 National Convention. Georgia is allotted 5 DNC members.
Elections and duties of DNC Members are governed by DPG Bylaws Section 2.6 and Section 8. If you’re interested in running for one of Georgia’s 5 DNC member posts, you must file an Intent to Run statement with the State Party office no later than June 17 at 12 noon by emailing that statement to email@example.com. (BL8.1.4)
Non-State Committee Members may run by submitting their Intent to Run statement with the endorsement of no fewer than 30 State Committee Members and submit no later than June 17 at 12 noon. (BL8.1.4)
We are encouraging voters to vote by mail by visiting DeKalbVotes.com and requesting an absentee ballot. However, we want to make sure everyone is informed of all of their options. Note that there is no voting on Memorial Day (May 25). You must vote at your precinct on Tuesday, June 9, 7 am – 7 pm. Below is a breakdown of early vote locations and times:
After consulting with respective leadership teams, the Chairs of both the DeKalb County Democratic Committee (DCDC), John Jackson, and the Rockdale County Democratic Committee (RCDC), Cheryl Miles Board are denouncing the State Representative from District 91 for his recent endorsement of President Trump for re-election. The House District 91 Rep has identified himself as a Democrat and was elected to his current position as a Democrat. It is the expectation that members of the party follow Bylaws and not undermine Democrats by endorsing the opposition.
Chair Jackson made the following statement: “No endorsement or pandemic will slow us down from defeating the occupant of the White House and all elected officials who stands with him.”