“Georgia tries to avoid calamity, fix election problems”


The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office is working with county elections officials to avoid a repeat of June’s chaotic primary elections that included hours-long lines to vote.

Poll worker jobs will be advertised through social media, newspaper and radio. Tech experts will be dispatched to set up voting equipment. State election officials will tell counties where precincts need to be added.

These efforts are designed to help county election offices prevent problems in primary runoffs Aug. 11 and the presidential election Nov. 3, when election day turnout is expected to be three times higher than the primary.

Whether the measures will work depends on election officials’ ability to get staff hired and trained, add voting locations and manage the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, which contributed to extensive wait times because of social distancing requirements….

Some of the longest lines in Fulton County came at consolidated polling places after some longstanding precincts became unavailable during the coronavirus pandemic. Consolidated polling places like Park Tavern in Midtown became a precinct for 16,000 voters.Voters reported waiting as long as four hours to vote at Fulton precincts, some standing through passing rain storms and oppressive humidity in order to cast a ballot.

Fulton has received referrals for new poll workers through the state’s program, county spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt said.

Cobb County, which extended voting hours at 19 precincts because of delayed starts and other issues, has also received poll worker referrals. The county’s poll workers will have access to a training webinar, also provided as part of the secretary of state’s initiative, said Elections Director Janine Eveler.

An upcoming report from the secretary of state’s office will color-code each of Georgia’s 2,600-plus precincts based on their number of voters, equipment and precinct sizes, labeling them as green, yellow, red or black. Locations categorized as red or black need substantial improvements, and some may need to be split into a new precinct to ease the load.

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