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Fulton County election process going well, division chief says
by Noreen Cochran
October 16, 2013 12:42 PM | 3428 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fulton County Elections Division Chief Dwight Brower told the county board of commissioners at its Oct. 2 meeting the municipal election process “is going very well,” hitting a number of milestones on time.

“We are well into poll training, online and hands-on,” he said about the more than 1,800 poll workers recruited for the Nov. 5 election. “We trained about 600 persons the other day. We have 56 temporary new staff that support the elections.”

But there are “some issues still” with ElectioNet, the state’s new voter registration system, which affects the county’s 665,480 registered voters.

“We were actually supposed to mail out voter registration cards, precinct cards if you will, 30 days prior to the election. They will [go out] Friday,” Brower said about an Oct. 4 deadline, by which his division reported sending out the majority of the cards. “We had some issues because the file we were getting from the state, the precinct card data, has some errors in it.”

Chairman John Eaves said the obstacle is state-wide.

“That issue is not unique to Fulton County,” he said. “All counties are experiencing the same problem.”

Brower said his division is stepping up its contact with the county registration division, the secretary of state’s office and Kennesaw University, which will create the ballots through its Center for Election Systems.

“We have weekly meetings with department staff and the county. Dialogue has improved substantially with the state. We are now getting a daily update with what they are doing to get us back on track with the ElectioNet system,” he said.

Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards asked if voters will need “minimal” provisional ballots, which permit in-person voting if a name is not on the precinct’s list of registered voters.

“We plan to have adequate provisional ballots,” Brower said. “We’ll send out at least a minimum of 100 provisional ballots per poll. Initially we were sending 50 per precinct, which is a good number but considering the issues we are currently experiencing, we want to make sure we have more than an adequate amount.”

 In other commission news, Commissioner Robb Pitts said separate millage rates for the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System and the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority will be tax increases in disguise, unless they included a corresponding reduction of the general fund millage rate.

 The concept of a separate millage rate for the library system was introduced at the Oct. 2 meeting. 

The county already has a bond fund millage rate which offset bond debt payments for the library capital program.

 In July, the board voted down a proposed millage rate specifically for the authority. 

“This is yet another round of the same shenanigans,” Pitts said. “This looks like a tax increase, sounds like a tax increase, and smells like a tax increase, because it would be a tax increase.”

Pitts said he is not opposed to separate millage rates so taxpayers can see what services their tax dollars support. 

Finance Director Patrick J. O’Connor has said the county is facing a net shortfall of approximately $75 million for 2014.

 “There is no way around it — cuts will have to be made,” Pitts said. “Everything should be on the table for discussion, except new taxes or fees.”

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