Georgia rolls out new voting machines, safety measures amid COVID-19

Posted at 11:21 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 23:22:01-04

DECATUR COUNTY, Ga. (WTXL) — Voters in Georgia will head to the polls Tuesday for the statewide general and presidential primary, but there have been some issues leading up to the big day, along with ensuring certain safety measures are in place.

There have been complaints in some counties that voters didn't get an absentee ballots even though they asked for one, and some counties don't have enough polling places.

The Secretary of State says it all adds up to lines come Tuesday.

Those casting their ballots in person Tuesday will not only have to adapt due to social distancing but new voting machines.

Georgians voting in person will use newly rolled out touchscreen equipment.

"I think they'll be pleasantly surprised with how easy it is," said Carol Heard, the supervisor of elections in Decatur County.

The new technology first piloted in six Georgia Counties, including Decatur and Lowndes, is supposed to help ease the high amount of traffic normally seen on voting day.​

This year is also expected to be a bit different as the country is still navigating through COVID-19.

"We do have hand sanitizers that we will use after each voter," Heard said. "There's also some disposable styluses that the public can have. They can take that same stylus and vote on the touchscreen."

Along with disinfecting and social distancing Heard is also crediting the pandemic for the increase of mail-in ballots.

"We have ha a fantastic response with mail-in-ballots," said Heard.

In person voters are asked to be patient, as safety precautions may cause normal operations to take a bit longer.

Heard also has an important message for voters who have received a mail-in-ballot but choose to vote in person.

"Bring their ballot to the polling place with them if they want to vote in person and want to cancel their mail-in ballot," Heard said. "Because we have to account for that ballot somehow."

Tuesday's voting combines presidential primary elections, partisan and non partisan.

If you can't make it to a polling place, the Secretary of State says people with an absentee ballot can still turn it in until 7 p.m. on Tuesday.