The county elections office conducted Paulding’s Nov. 5 municipal elections with little delay despite glitches found statewide in Georgia’s new voting equipment that forced officials to use alternate methods to collect ballots.
Meanwhile, voters in the election chose a new Hiram mayor and council member; gave two Dallas council members and the mayor new terms; and approved Hiram restaurants’ service of alcoholic beverages 90 minutes earlier on Sundays.
The Georgia Secretary of State’s office tested its new Dominion Voting Systems equipment in Paulding and five other counties before using them statewide in Georgia’s Presidential Preference Primary in March 2020.
However, the system’s electronic Poll Pad — used to verify voters’ identities and other information — malfunctioned in Paulding and most other counties Nov. 5 when it pulled up the data but failed to encode the cards needed to access the voting machines.
Elections Supervisor Deidre Holden said her staff used the Dominion system’s ballot activation option to allow voters to cast ballots “and also paper ballots when we realized there was an issue.”
The machines allow voters to make their choices on a touch screen tablet, review them on the screen, print a paper copy listing their choices and a QR code for a final review, and place the paper ballot into an optical scanner to cast their votes.
The paper ballots are used for verifying and auditing results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.
Holden said she and her workers “had very few issues with the Dominion System” other than the Poll Pad problems.
“It was a statewide issue and they are working to make sure this does not happen in the future,” Holden said.
The county already has received 480 new machines for future elections and used 198 in the Nov. 5 election, Holden said.
Paulding County conducted the Dallas and Hiram municipal elections under contract with the cities.
Unofficial results showed:
DALLASLongtime incumbent James Kelly Jr. won a fifth four-year term on the council after receiving 400 votes to turn back a challenge from Brian Hardin who received 293 votes for an at-large city council seat representing the entire city.
Incumbent Leah Kirby Alls received 383 votes to narrowly defeat Ryan Ayers, who received 313, for the city council’s Ward 3 seat.
Mayor Boyd Austin was unopposed for re-election to a seventh four-year term.
Dallas businesswoman Narda Konchel had qualified to challenge Austin but the Georgia Supreme Court rejected her appeal to delay the election after the Paulding Superior Court and county Elections Board ruled that she be disqualified because she could not prove a required one-year residency in the city to hold the office.
Council incumbents Michael Cason of Ward 2 and Jim Henson of Ward 4 were unopposed for re-election.
HIRAMCity Councilman Frank Moran edged Daniel Blount Jr. by 16 votes for the mayor’s seat.
Moran received 135 votes and Blount 119 votes.
He will switch seats with Mayor Teresa Philyaw, who chose not to seek re-election and, instead, seek election to Moran’s Post 1 council seat.
Philyaw was unopposed for the council seat Nov. 5.
Incumbent Kathy Bookout was re-elected to a third term in the council’s Post 2 seat.
Hiram voters also voted 166 to 95 to allow restaurants inside the city to begin serving alcohol at 11 a.m. rather than 12:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Only about 9% of registered voters cast ballots in the Hiram and Dallas elections, according to election records.
The county elections board was scheduled to certify the results Nov. 11.