SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Election boards across Georgia are taking extra precautions Friday after an emergency phone call with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
On the call, Chatham County Board of Registrars Chairman Colin McRae says the secretary of state acknowledged that — despite rumors of postponing the election — early voting options for Georgia’s Presidential Primary election will move forward “as planned.”
Election officials say they are actively encouraging voters concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic to request an absentee ballot. Anyone can request and submit one, so long as the Board of Elections receives it by March 20.
McRae says there has been nearly a 19 percent increase in the number of registered voters this year. Absentee ballot requests have also increased.
According to McRae, as of Friday morning, 2,293 people requested ballots. In 2016, there were 1,239 total requests.
The Secretary of State says his office has been preparing for the virus over the past two weeks. They say they have purchased 9,000 bottles of spray Purell for polling locations in counties across the state. They also bought thousands of lint-free wipes to protect equipment and screens from bacteria and germs.
If voters choose to vote at the polls, local officials say they want voters to feel safe and secure. Poll workers in Chatham County are cleaning voting machines two to three times a day.
In Bryan County, officials say they will clean machines 5-6 times per day. In addition to that, they are purchasing “vinyl purpose gloves” for voters to use. Officials tell News 3 the gloves will work on touchscreens.
“You don’t need an excuse, you don’t need a reason to request an absentee ballot, you can just request one. One is sent to you, you fill it out, you put it in the envelope, properly mark it and seal it and send it back,” McRae stated.
Voters can fill out an application to vote via absentee ballot through email, fax or in-person at the Registrars Office.
- Voter Registration Main Office (1117 Eisenhower Dr., Suite E) 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Southwest Library (14097 Abercorn St.) 10:00 a.m. – 4: 00 p.m.
- Voter Registration Main Office (1117 Eisenhower Dr., Suite E) 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Voter Registration Main Office (1117 Eisenhower Dr., Suite E) 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
March 16 – 20:
- West Broad St. YMCA (1110 May St.) 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Voter Registration Main Office (1117 Eisenhower Dr., Suite E) 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- Mosquito Control (65 Billy B. Hair Dr.) 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Islands Library (50 Johnny Mercer Blvd.) 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Southwest Library (14097 Abercorn St.) 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Pooler City Hall (100 SW US Highway 80) 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Call (912) 790–1520 for more information and click HERE for Your Local Election Headquarters.