After troublesome primary, Chatham County sees no major snags in runoff

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Chatham County Board of Elections says long lines and technical difficulties that delayed results in the June primary were not a problem during Tuesday’s primary runoff election.

Elections Supervisor Russell Bridges says turnout was much lower this time. But still, he says more than 8 thousand people voted by absentee ballot. Typically, there are a few hundred.

Board of Elections Chairman Tom Mahoney says 7,000 absentee ballots were processed the day before the election, which sped up the process on election night.

“We want to come across with the image that we are doing things the right way for the public,” said First Presbyterian Church Precinct Assistant Manager John Leffler. “If the voter comes out and has a good experience, then we’ve done our job.”

Leffler believes his team did their job right. They were able to solve minor technical difficulties without assistance from technicians.

Sixty technicians from Dominion — the company that manufactures new voting machines — and 12 technicians from the Board of Elections assisted staff who needed help. In June, some precincts delayed the start of election day because of various technical issues.

“I feel confident that we’ll have a good turnout in November. I feel confident that this polling place will certainly be able to handle it. There’s still some room for improvement in some of the other areas, but we’re doing fine here,” said Leffler.

Apart from minor issues with missing signage and confusion over existing polling location changes, Bridges says there were no major voting-related problems.

Mahoney agrees with Leffler: more can be done ahead of the November election.

“I don’t know what the pandemic will be like in November,” he said. “I don’t know how many workers we’ll have. We really need more workers. More than 600 that we typically have. If people are reluctant to work because of the pandemic, we’re going to need to have more people.”

Mahoney says he hopes election results will be certified by Monday. Most staff members were able to leave the Board of Elections by around 10:30 p.m. on election night.

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