New DeKalb elections board selects leaders

The newest iteration of the DeKalb County elections board has chosen its leaders.

Dele Lowman Smith, a Democratic appointee starting her second two-year term on the board, was chosen as chair. Nancy Jester, a Republican appointee and former county commissioner, will serve as vice chair of the five-member board.

Historically, local election boards have drawn little attention. But the country’s divisive political environment, false assertions of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election, and Georgia’s new voting law have put them firmly in the spotlight.

Three members of the new DeKalb board are returning for additional terms: Lowman Smith, fellow Democratic appointee Susan Motter and Republican appointee Anthony Lewis.

Jester and Karli Swift (the board’s at-large selection) are new members.

All were sworn in Wednesday morning, several days after Chief Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson made their appointments official. The Thursday afternoon meeting where leaders were selected was the group’s first (virtual) gathering to conduct business.

As chair, Lowman Smith will take over the role most recently filled by Sam Tillman. Tillman was not reappointed after serving more than two decades on the board.

Motter called Lowman Smith an ethical and collaborative colleague and said she would represent “a generational shift” that’s needed to further modernize DeKalb’s elections operations.


  • Karli Swift (appointed by Chief Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson; replaces current board chair Sam Tillman)
  • Susan Motter (reappointed by DeKalb Democrats)
  • Dele Lowman Smith (reappointed by DeKalb Democrats; later chosen as chair)
  • Nancy Jester (appointed by DeKalb GOP to replace longtime board member Baoky Vu; later chosen as vice chair)
  • Anthony Lewis (reappointed by DeKalb GOP)