Don Meyer has 188 pages of data which he says shows ineligible voters voted in the 2012 Rockdale election. - Staff photo by Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith
CONYERS -- Don Meyer, who is active in the South Rockdale Civic Association, told the Board of Elections and Voter Registration last week that he has identified 200 people who wrongly voted in the November General Election in Rockdale County.
Meyer, who said he would provide the list of names to the Board of Elections at a later time, asked that the board take that information and use it to begin the process of educating the public on the privilege of voting.
Meyer, who is first vice president of the South Rockdale Civic Association and a former president, said he had names and addresses for some 200 people who don't live in Rockdale but who voted here in November.
Meyer said Monday he believes that in most cases, those who wrongly cast a ballot in Rockdale were unaware that they should not have voted in Rockdale.
"There is probably a small handful who are upstarts who do this anyway," he said. "I think the larger majority of people think ... they can still go back and vote."
Nonetheless, voters who cast ballots in the wrong county can have a big impact, he said, noting that the Rockdale County sheriff's race was ultimately decided by a handful of votes.
Meyer said he unearthed the list through computer searches and by comparing where someone voted to where they filed for homestead tax exemption.
Cynthia Welch, Rockdale's supervisor of elections, said in an email response to questions that state and federal laws must be followed before a voter can be denied the right to vote, particularly if they are still listed as a voter in the county.
"Challenging an elector's right to vote is a process that requires the Board of Elections to notify the voter to appear at a hearing regarding their eligibility," said Welch. "In addition, federal law provides that a voter cannot be removed 90 days prior to an election (except in cases of death or a felony conviction).
"It is possible that the voters were eligible based on state/federal law," she added.
Meyer said voting in the wrong county is a misdemeanor and he understands that the offense is unlikely to be prosecuted. He said would like to see legislative action to provide harsher penalties for subsequent offenses.
In the meantime, Meyer said he's interested in the "process and protocol" of voting and would like to see more education for the electorate prior to elections.
"I want us to find a better way to improve that," he said.