Cobb elections board touts earlier returns
by Lindsay Field
November 13, 2012 12:40 AM | 2365 views | 3 3 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler<br>Staff/Laura Moon
Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler
Staff/Laura Moon
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MARIETTA — Cobb’s Board of Elections and Registration are pleased with how smoothly Election Night went last week.

“The results and the way the whole process was handled was really excellent,” board chair Beverly E. Smith said at a meeting held Monday to certify results from last Tuesday’s election. “The team really pulled together well. There were lots of efficiencies.”

With the exception of vice chairman Rob Garcia, who was absent, the group voted unanimously to certify results, which should be uploaded to the Georgia Secretary of State’s website sometime today. Monday was a state holiday.

According to Cobb Elections director Janine Eveler, of Cobb’s 415,314 eligible voters, 311,245 cast ballots last week, or 75 percent. Of those, 2,051 were provisional ballots, which only 716, or 34 percent, counted. About 102,200 voters, or 33 percent, cast early in-person or absentee ballots.

Eveler said the early voting was just a few thousand shy of the approximately 105,000 cast in the 2008 Presidential Election, but reminded the board that four years ago they had a six-week early voting window compared to this year’s three-week window.

A few of the certified write-in candidates who received votes for U.S. president were Jill Stein, 184 votes; Virgil Goode, 48; Ross C. “Rocky” Anders, 11; Darrell Hykes, 2; and James Harris, 1.

The only write-in candidate for vice president who received any votes was Cheri Honkala with 8 votes. Write-in-candidate Allan Levene received 19 votes for U.S. Congressional District 11 and Cobb County Commission Chairman write-in candidate Craig Harfoot got 842 votes.

Eveler’s report also indicated that the first precinct to report was Kemp 01, which came in at 8 p.m. and the last was Norton Park 01, which came in at 10:13 p.m.

The first precinct uploaded to the system was Fair Oaks 05 around 8:13 p.m. and the last was Smyrna 6A, around 11:05 p.m.

Following the July 31 election, Eveler said the board set an expectation to have the first results published by 9 p.m. In order to do that, she said her staff found ways to get data in earlier.

“You never know how long it will take for polls to close and deliver evidence, and because this was a big election we wanted to attack it from various angles in order to meet the expectations of the board and the public,” she said.

They identified nine precincts from which they would attempt to transmit results from the poll.

“The technical troubleshooters assigned to those polls were trained to do the transmitting because we no longer provide instructions or training to the poll workers,” she said. “Of those nine identified, three polls were able to transmit successfully; the third transmit was received 12 minutes before the first batch of memory cards arrived from the prep center.”

Additionally, they arranged for six poll managers to drop off their memory cards at West Park before proceeding to the prep center to deliver their other evidence.

Lastly, Eveler said they started opening and counting absentee mail ballots around 1 p.m. Tuesday, merging two vote review panels and streamlining the process.

“As a result, we finished scanning and uploaded the (absentee mail-in) ballots by 11:50 p.m. and published shortly thereafter, completing the election night results,” she said. “When midnight came up and the results were all up, we were like, ‘Wow. This is great.’”

However, Eveler’s staff was at the office until 2:30 a.m. going through provisional ballots to ensure they could account for all of them in preparation for last Wednesday’s investigation and audit of the paperwork.

“It was a late night still, but it wasn’t the stress of having the results up, so that was good,” she told the board Monday morning.

The board’s next meeting will be Dec. 10 at 4 p.m. in the Cobb County services building off Whitlock Avenue in Marietta.
Comments
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Gringo Bandito
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November 13, 2012
Given their disastrous performance in the previous couple of elections, it's not hard to be earlier.
Lib in Cobb
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November 13, 2012
When it is a contentious election as this was, the Cobb Elections board seemed to be ill prepared for the crowd. I voted early at the Whitlock Road polling station, it took 2.5 hours. This was not an easy process, in fact it a damned discouraging process.

I would appreciate an explanation of why only 34% of provisional ballots were counted.
Just Sayin'....
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November 13, 2012
I am so glad things ran smoothly on Election Day because early voting was absolutely a fiasco. Go ahead and pat yourselves on the back for getting the job half done.
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