Gwinnett Municipal Officials Hear from Secretary of State Brian Kemp

February 21, 2018
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On February 13, 2018 the Gwinnett Municipal Association met at the Norcross Community Center for the first general meeting of 2018.  Secretary of State Brian Kemp was invited to speak to the association about the role and duties of the Secretary of State’s office.

Mayor Blechinger recognizes Ron Griffith for years of service.
GwMA President Barbara Bender welcomed members and guests to the meeting, hosted by the City of Norcross.  Mayor Craig Newton was recognized and offered brief remarks about the city and the meeting facility.  Included with the introductions was special recognition of Auburn’s City Administrator Ron Griffith, who was retiring in February.  Ron’s contributions to GwMA and its member cities was covered by President Bender and Auburn Mayor Linda Blechinger.

Secretary Kemp began his remarks by reminding the audience that the Secretary of State annual corporation renewal was in progress.  The online system was updated, beginning two years ago, and registration steps were reduced significantly.  There were 217 thousand filings recorded during January 2018.  State licensing is also being addressed.  The system is based in Macon, Georgia and impacts over one-half million license holders.  Latest results now reflect over 99 percent of licenses are renewed online.  Less than 20 paper renewals filed during the last interval.

Elections responsibilities continue to be one of the most important Secretary of State responsibilities.   Since 2010 the office has registered 800 thousand additional voters.  Upcoming are states participating in the regional primary: Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Tennessee.  Concerning voting methods – 92 percent of voting precincts use machines versus a paper ballot.  The equipment is aging however, and Georgia recently completed a Conyers/Rockdale County trial using new equipment, tracking program and a printed paper ballot confirmation.  If adopted, the cost for retrofitting Georgia voting devices will be significant.  Secretary Kemp estimated that there remained 2-3 years of useful life for the current system.

At the request of Suwanee Council Member Linnea Miller Secretary Kemp described the Student Ambassadors Program.  May schools are participating and over 1600 students are involved.  Lawrenceville Council Member Bob Clark asked about qualification, investigation and enforcement of residency address for candidates.   Secretary Kemp concluded his comments by acknowledging the efforts of Gwinnett cities’ clerks and support staff representatives to prepare and comply with the Spanish Language requirements of the Voting Rights Act.  More Georgia cities and counties will be impacted by these requirements in upcoming elections.

The Gwinnett Municipal Association appreciates Secretary Kemp for his support and informative comments.