Voting Integrity

Updated: Mar 26


The right to vote and fair representation is perhaps the most sacred right of all Americans. The right to vote is absolute and every effort should be made to ensure all people have the opportunity to register, vote and be counted. It is only through true democratic principles and the will of the people that our communities prosper. As your Commissioner, I will fight to ensure voting within DeKalb is an unabridged right. Additionally, I will engage my constituents and community by ensuring you are aware of issues that affect you and your voice is heard.


DeKalb elections board agrees to cooperate with long-sought review

Jan 13, 2020 By J.D. Capelouto and Tyler Estep


With longstanding questions still lingering about DeKalb’s 2018 elections and a busy new voting cycle revving up, experts have been cleared to conduct an in-depth inspection of how the county’s elections department operates.

But it remains unclear when the long-sought review might happen, as election officials and county leaders continue to negotiate the timing of the assessment. The county elections board voted Thursday to cooperate with a five-day probe by consultants and former elections officials, a process that county commissioners have been pushing for since the 2018 elections. During that cycle, DeKalb residents reported voting irregularities and issues with the absentee voting process. The county garnered national attention after state Democratic officials said more than 4,700 vote-by-mail applications went missing, triggering a state investigation.

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The county commissioners, who operate separately from the elections board, voted in March to conduct an audit of the elections department. But the county’s independent auditor determined he could not perform a proper audit due to the lack of available records and data on past elections, so the county chose to hire outside consultants to conduct a review instead, DeKalb Commissioner Jeff Rader said.

But it remains unclear when the long-sought review might happen, as election officials and county leaders continue to negotiate the timing of the assessment. The county elections board voted Thursday to cooperate with a five-day probe by consultants and former elections officials, a process that county commissioners have been pushing for since the 2018 elections. During that cycle, DeKalb residents reported voting irregularities and issues with the absentee voting process. The county garnered national attention after state Democratic officials said more than 4,700 vote-by-mail applications went missing, triggering a state investigation.

The county commissioners, who operate separately from the elections board, voted in March to conduct an audit of the elections department. But the county’s independent auditor determined he could not perform a proper audit due to the lack of available records and data on past elections, so the county chose to hire outside consultants to conduct a review instead, DeKalb Commissioner Jeff Rader said. The county allocated $60,000 for the review.

Elections board chairman Samuel Tillman, who has denied any county culpability for the missing ballot applications, said Thursday he was “more than happy” to work with the commissioners and consultants.

But he pushed back on the proposed timeline, which called for the review to be conducted this week and for consultants to provide a final report by the end of February. “I certainly would like to know who they are, what they’re going to do, and have some conversation with them before they show up,” Tillman said. He said he would get back to Rader with a suggested time for the experts to visit the office.


During a Jan. 3 meeting, members of a new ad hoc elections committee — which includes three commissioners and members of the elections board — expressed concern about a lack of cooperation by elections leadership. Commissioners said the department had pushed back on the review, saying they would be too busy preparing for March’s election and getting acquainted with the new voting machines being rolled out across the state. Commissioner Nancy Jester called it “disappointing.” During the committee meeting, Rader told the consultant team to plan on visiting the elections offices next week but quipped that they should “get a refundable ticket in case something blows up.”


Rader attended Thursday night’s elections board meeting to stress the importance of the review, saying voter complaints reached a “critical mass” over the course of last year. He asked for, and received, the board’s formal vow to cooperate. “I am optimistic that the Board of Registration and Elections is supportive of what we’re trying to accomplish. They see some value in the results that will come from it,” Rader said after the meeting. The county Democrat and Republican parties each nominate two members to the elections board, and the fifth member is appointed by the county’s chief Superior Court judge.

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Maryam Ahmad

SUPER DISTRICT 6 COMMISSIONER 

2020 Developed by Friends of Maryam Campaign