MARIETTA — A new woman has joined the group that will certify the results of all elections in Cobb County.
East Cobb immigration and family law attorney Neera Bahl was sworn in to the five-member Cobb Board of Elections and Registration Monday. She replaces former board member Joe Pettit, who, like her, is an appointee of the Cobb Republican Party.
Both major parties get one appointee each for the board, the Cobb Legislative Delegation gets two, and the Cobb Commission chair gets one.
Speaking to the MDJ after her swearing-in, Bahl said she hopes to bring her perspective as an immigration attorney to ensure the process remains fair.
“We tell people the day they get this certificate of citizenship, in this proud, proud moment, that first right you have is to vote, so it’s okay in my opinion to ask people if you’re a citizen. … We want to make sure that going forward everything is conducted absolutely accurately. In my mind, it was, but again, there are two sides and we are here to evaluate the process so it is fair to all concerned.”
Bahl said in cases when immigrants who are ineligible to vote accidentally do, it bars them from becoming a citizen down the road, so it’s also in their best interest to make sure only citizens can vote.
In her first meeting, Bahl voted to approve changing a Marietta polling location from the Cobb County Water System training room to Bridge Pointe Church. The group also discussed efforts to expand access to early voting in the 2020 presidential election.
But Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler said the board will have plenty of work to do even before the presidential election ramps up.
“We have a big election all the time,” she said. “They’re all important for somebody. We have our city elections coming up first this year, so she’ll get to experience the municipal general elections this year, and then of course we go right into it for next year. We’re looking forward to the new member.”
Also at Monday’s meeting, Democratic Party appointee Jessica Brooks was sworn in for a new term, and the members voted on leadership positions within the board.
Chairman Phil Daniell and Vice Chair Fred Aiken, both appointees of the Cobb Legislative Delegation, will retain their roles.
The role of secretary, previously held by Pettit, will now be filled by Brooks.
The board’s newest member will take over Brooks’ role as assistant secretary.
Rounding out the five-member board is county chairman appointee Darryl Wilson, Jr.