Earlier this month, several Democrats in the county’s legislative delegation reached out to the Cobb elections department. The lawmakers asked that elections officials mail an absentee ballot application to every voter in Cobb and purchase at least 10 more ballot drop boxes.
Several days later, Janine Eveler, the elections department’s director, said she had bought 12.
Although Cobb County managed to avoid some of the Election Day issues that plagued other metro Atlanta counties during the June 9 primary, long lines, particularly in areas with large minority and Democrat-leaning populations, led to new cries of voter suppression.
Hoping to avoid a repeat, the county elections department has either begun looking into or enacting some of the measures asked of it by voting rights advocates, Eveler said at a meeting of the Cobb Elections Board on July 13.
“That was very good news,” said Cobb Democratic Party Chairwoman Jacquelyn Bettadapur, who spoke during the public comment period of the meeting.
Eveler said later that the drop boxes won’t be available until the November election.
In addition to quadrupling the number of absentee ballot drop boxes, Eveler said the department had asked at least one vendor to look into the possibility of mailing an absentee ballot application to every eligible voter in the county.
Eveler said the department would also try to do a better job recruiting poll workers — many of who opted not to volunteer for the June 9 primary out of fear of catching the coronavirus — and improve training procedures.
After the meeting, Bettadapur said the department still had work to do, including a more robust public information campaign urging voters to cast absentee ballots.
In other business, the Board of Elections voted to split the county’s largest precinct, a change that would go into effect ahead of the Nov. 3 election — not the Aug. 11 runoff.
Marietta 3A counted more than 6,000 voters. After the board’s vote July 13, 2,115 of them will now be a part of precinct Marietta 3B and vote at Iglesia Misionera Asambleas De Dios, 1021 Oregon Trail. The remaining 4,011 will continue to vote at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, 566 Whitlock Ave.
The change is contingent upon representatives from Iglesia Misionera signing necessary documents, something Eveler said is very likely to happen.
The board also voted to change the location of three precincts ahead of the Aug. 11 primary runoff elections:
♦ Pope 01 will move from the Tim D. Lee Senior Center at 3332 Sandy Plains Road to Mountain View Regional Library at 3320 Sandy Plains Road.
♦ Sweetwater 02 will move from Austell’s Presbyterian Village at 2000 East-West Connector to Floyd Road Baptist Church at 3996 Floyd Road.
♦ Vinings 03 will move from Vinings Church at 4479 Atlanta Road SE to King Spring Baptist Church at 3732 King Springs Road SE.
The virtual meeting was marred by technical difficulties, with some board members and others who attended virtually struggling to understand Eveler and board Chairman Phil Daniell.