DeKalb County elections director resigns; search begins for replacement

November 13, 2020 Stonecrest: DeKalb County Director of Elections, Erica Hamilton along with DeKalb County officials were in the process of setting up operations at the former Sam’s Club in Stonecrest Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, where it plans to start its part of the recount at 7 a.m. Saturday. Officials said the facility which was used as an early voting site for the election provides more space and allows for better social distancing than would be possible at the county’s elections office off Memorial Drive. Joe Biden led Donald Trump by 14,000 votes as of Friday morning. The cost of Georgia recount six-day recount isn’t known, but initial estimates from DeKalb County indicate it might be pricey. DeKalb officials said Friday the recount will cost about $180,000, including $147,000 in pay, $20,000 for food and beverages, and $12,000 for personal protective equipment and other coronavirus-related precautions. The numbers are preliminary and may change, according to DeKalb. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)
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November 13, 2020 Stonecrest: DeKalb County Director of Elections, Erica Hamilton along with DeKalb County officials were in the process of setting up operations at the former Sam’s Club in Stonecrest Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, where it plans to start its part of the recount at 7 a.m. Saturday. Officials said the facility which was used as an early voting site for the election provides more space and allows for better social distancing than would be possible at the county’s elections office off Memorial Drive. Joe Biden led Donald Trump by 14,000 votes as of Friday morning. The cost of Georgia recount six-day recount isn’t known, but initial estimates from DeKalb County indicate it might be pricey. DeKalb officials said Friday the recount will cost about $180,000, including $147,000 in pay, $20,000 for food and beverages, and $12,000 for personal protective equipment and other coronavirus-related precautions. The numbers are preliminary and may change, according to DeKalb. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

DeKalb County Elections Director Erica Hamilton resigned Thursday, roughly a month after she was placed on an extended leave of absence by elections board leaders.

The five-member board voted unanimously to accept Hamilton’s resignation during a called special meeting. Election Board chairperson Dele Lowman Smith also announced the board will begin a nationwide search for Hamilton’s permanent replacement, along with a new deputy director position.

No explanation was given for Hamilton’s leave of absence at the time, and election board members didn’t provide any details Thursday.

In a statement, Lowman Smith said, “The Board thanks Ms. Hamilton for her service to the DeKalb County voters, and we wish her well in her next professional chapter.”

ExploreDeKalb elections director on ‘extended leave of absence’

Hamilton, who first took over as DeKalb’s elections director in the fall of 2017, has been the frequent target of criticism from board members, county commissioners and other local officials. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was provided a copy of Hamilton’s resignation letter, which was dated Sept. 28, along with a signed copy of the board’s transition agreement.

Twyla Hart, previously the county’s voter registration supervisor, was appointed interim director until further notice, and she will oversee the county’s elections on Nov. 2. Hart has been with the DeKalb elections department for nearly two decades.

“The Board looks forward to launching a national search for a permanent executive director,” Lowman Smith’s statement said. “We are grateful to our partners, stakeholders, and voters for your ongoing support and engagement as we navigate this period of transition and strive to deliver a seamless November election.”

During Thursday’s meeting, Lowman Smith said she and Hart agreed her stint as interim director would not last long beyond this election cycle. The board will seek one or two temporary employees to fill the role of director until a nationwide search can be conducted and a permanent director and deputy director hired. The board will further discuss its hiring further at its meeting next Wednesday.

On Nov. 2 voters will cast ballots in dozens of city races and a countywide vote on renewing the education sales tax that funds projects for local schools. Counties are also in the process of implementing changes related to Georgia’s new elections law.

ExploreDeKalb residents will be able to vote early on Sundays

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