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Hall cited over polling mistakes in Feb. 5 presidential primary
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0621ELECTIONAUD

Hear Charlotte Sosebee-Hunter, interim elections director, talk about the Georgia Secretary of State’s investigation of her office for not following state rules at one of its precincts during the Feb. 5 presidential primary.

The Georgia State Election Board has admonished the Hall County elections office for failing to check the identification of several voters in the Feb. 5 presidential primary at a Flowery Branch polling location.

The board decided at its quarterly meeting Tuesday to issue a "letter of instruction" to the office, according to a press release issued Friday by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

The letter says "in detail what (the office) did wrong and how to properly follow election procedures in the future," said Matt Carrothers, Secretary of State spokesman.

A Flowery Branch voter, Michael W. Parker, e-mailed the state Office of Inspector General on Feb. 7 alleging that poll workers at the Roberts precinct at New Bethany Baptist Church allowed three people to vote without checking their ID.

Parker, who couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, also said he saw incomplete voter certificates at the precinct, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

The investigation revealed that 10 incomplete voter certificates were submitted at the precinct, which had 1,174 voters on Feb. 5.

Of the 10, six were Democratic voters and four were Republican voters.

Eight certificates had no marking or signatures by election officials, one had a signature of an election official with no form of ID noted and one had the form of ID noted but no signature, according to the Inspector General’s investigation summary.

The report says that three poll workers may have violated state election board rules by "failing to verify the identity of the voter on the voter certificate with the voter’s proper identification."

The office recommended that the case be referred to the Attorney General’s Office for training and appropriate sanctions.

Charlotte Sosebee-Hunter, Hall County’s interim elections director, said she first heard of the complaint when an investigator showed up at her office on March 19.

"I was surprised because nobody had contacted me, including the person who had complained about it," she said. "Had he contacted me the day of the election, we could have taken care of it."

She said that some voters had skipped from one line where IDs are checked to a second line where the voter’s name is looked up and the voter receives the voting card.

The investigation revealed "there were some voter certificates that did not have their IDs as specified as checked on there," Sosebee-Hunter said. "That’s not saying those people’s IDs weren’t checked — it’s just to say the poll worker did not indicate they had checked that person’s ID."

She said she believes the state will pay closer attention to voting at the Roberts precinct at the next election on July 15.

"I just think (this case involved) something that a person observed. It could have been miscommunicated," Sosebee-Hunter said. "A person’s ID might not have gotten checked because it was so busy that day, but it’s possible their ID was checked but not by the same person who checked (Parker’s).

"That is a long day where people will need breaks. If the person that checks IDs gets up to go to the restroom, then that puts the next person either there to check it or the person at the (second) line to check the ID."

Sosebee-Hunter said her office is "stressing more to the poll workers on setting up your precinct is so important, that there is not any confusion to the voter and let them know that even if the ID checker doesn’t check the ID before the (voting) card is issued ... they are to check the ID."

0621ELECTIONDOC
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