Elections Chief Calls For More Polls, Training, Tech Support To Avoid November Meltdown

— By Stephen Fowler, GPB, June 17, 2020 — Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger unveiled a plan Wednesday to help Georgia elections officials better prepare for the general election and minimize the likelihood of long lines and problems at the polls. Speaking in front of Park Tavern, where nearly 16,000 active voters were assigned to cast […]
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— By Stephen Fowler, GPB, June 17, 2020 —

Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger unveiled a plan Wednesday to help Georgia elections officials better prepare for the general election and minimize the likelihood of long lines and problems at the polls.

Speaking in front of Park Tavern, where nearly 16,000 active voters were assigned to cast their ballots and wait times lasted more than three hours, Raffensperger also took aim at the voting issues Fulton County residents faced.

“From our data from Election Day so far, approximately 70% of all the issues in the state were in Fulton County,” he said. “Fulton County’s issues are now conflated with Georgia’s elections overall in spite of the Georgia election officials and workers who have worked their fingers to the bone to bring us a successful election.”

Raffensperger asked the legislature to pass a measure that would allow the State Election Board, which he chairs, to intervene in the management of county elections.

During the June 9 primary, voters in metro Atlanta counties stood in hours-long lines, saw some polls open late due to problems with a new $104-million voting system and were left frustrated after newly trained poll workers struggled to implement backup paper voting protocols.

Come November, he said, there will be a technician in every polling place, including people trained by the state and counties to work with the machines. The state’s top election official also said better hands-on training will cut down on problems with ballot-marking devices that may be human error.

Many poll workers in the state that backed out of working the primary are over 70 years old, the age category most at risk for coronavirus complications.

“While COVID-19 has not passed, most of us have a better handle on how to deal with it,” he said. “From the data we have, we will adapt our current training directly with counties to address what we saw on the ground as the most needed areas.”

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