Liberty Co. to begin processing absentee ballots

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LIBERTY COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – Election workers will soon get a head start on processing absentee ballots. The Liberty County Board of Elections plans to begin on Wednesday.

In anticipation of an abundance of absentee ballots, the Georgia State Election Board voted to allow Georgia counties to start processing absentee ballots early. This is a huge help to election workers in Liberty County.

“Oh, it helps a lot especially on November 3rd where you know there’s no way we could process the ballots,” Interim Elections Supervisor Ronda Walthour said. “We’ve issued out over 7,000 so you know there’s no way we can get in 7,000 and scan and upload those all in one night.”

Liberty County has received more than 4,000 absentee ballots. In a normal year, they’d only see around 1,000. Early processing has been allowed for the first time ever because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So right now they’re just feeding the information in but not coming up with a score or not coming up with a total of who’s leading,” Georgia State Election Board Member Matt Mashburn said.

Each county won’t be allowed to officially count the votes until everyone has voted on November 3rd. The scanned votes will be saved in the memory of the scanning computers.

“In essence what you’re doing is you’re moving a week earlier so rather than waiting a week for the results we’re moving that week up. We’re going to have the results right after the polls close rather than a week after the polls close,” Mashburn said.

Mashburn tells News 3 Board of Elections offices across the state asked for this change to make it easier getting the results out faster and that’s something Walthour and her team plan to do.

“We do have a sense of urgency when it comes to tabulating but we do want to have accuracy also,” Walthour said.

A team of 15 election workers will process the absentee ballots in batches until election day.

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