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Pilot program to speed voter check-in

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The Floyd County Elections Board will be testing some new technology in the May 22 primary with an eye to cutting the time it takes to vote.

Elections Supervisor Willie Green said the EasyVote check-in system would be used as a pilot program during the advance voting period, which begins April 30. Voters at the elections office, 12 E. Fourth Ave., won't have to fill out their ballot application — an exercise Green said takes about five to eight minutes.

"With the EasyVote, you can scan their ID and it prints out the application with every line populated," he said. "It takes maybe 30 seconds."

Green and the three-member elections board met Monday to review preparations for the upcoming election and the Nov. 6 general election.

New this year are signs designating handicapped parking at precincts that don't already have a space set aside. The 25 polling locations are set up around the county in buildings ranging from schools and churches to social clubs and health facilities.

"One of the poll managers told me she's really excited about that. She said they've never had it before," member Mardi Haynes-Jackson said.

Green also is arranging solutions for election-night issues that delay the counting of votes. He's targeting the check-in process for poll managers delivering results to the elections office and ensuring they'll have a place to park when they arrive.

Board Chair Steve Miller said the problems were pinpointed at a recent poll worker training session.

"It was eye-opening to me," he said. "The bottleneck is not at the precincts anymore."

Also, the board approved Green's plans to have a dedicated Wi-Fi hotspot set up at Garden Lakes Baptist Church, 2200 Redmond Circle, which will again be a universal polling location for advance voting.

"It's a good place to hold an election, but we're in the back of the church where reception isn't strong and we need to use the internet," Green said.

The cost for the temporary hotspot is estimated at $200 to $300. The EasyVote check-in software runs $3,250, plus a fee of $1,500 to $1,600 each year the department wants to tap the updated program files.

Green said the speedier check-in will mean more voters coming for their ballots faster, but he would be adding more staff for that part of the process.

"We'll see how it goes, then decide if we're going to roll out to the other precincts in November," he said.

Also on Monday, Green showed the board members sample ballots printed in-house on the Balotar system purchased in 2016. The ballot-on-demand equipment allows the department to bypass the old method of guessing at a number to order in advance from an outside printer.

For the primary, voters must request either a Republican or Democratic ballot. The nonpartisan judge seats will be included on both of those, or available on a ballot that doesn't include partisan races.

The Democratic Party of Georgia also is including four nonbinding questions on its ballot. Voters in that primary will be asked their position on banning bump stocks, expanding Medicaid, creating a nonpartisan independent commission to draw voting districts investing in mass transit.

Qualified Candidates for 2018 elections

Nonpartisan winners take office in January 2019. Partisan winners advance to the Nov. 6 general election.

Local partisan

U.S. representative, District 14

Democrat: Steven Lamar Foster

Republican: Tom Graves (I)

State senator, District 52

Democrat: Evan Ross

Republican: Chuck Hufstetler (I)

State representative, District 12

Democrat: None

Republican: Eddie Lumsden (I)

State representative, District 13

Democrat: John Burnette II

Republican: Katie Dempsey (I)

State representative, District 14

Democrat: None

Republican: Christian Coomer (I)

County Commission, Post 1

Democrat: Stephanie Wright

Republican: Rhonda Wallace (I)

County Commission, Post 4

Democrat: None

Republican: Larry Maxey (I)

County Commission, Post 5

Democrat: None

Republican: Scotty Hancock (I)

County school board, District 1

Democrat: None

Republican: Chip Hood (I)

County school board, District 4

Democrat: None

Republican: Tony Daniel (I)

Local nonpartisan

Superior Court, Rome circuit - 2 seats

(Colston) Kay Ann Wetherington, Emily J. Matson

(Sparks) Billy Sparks (I)

Juvenile Court

Greg Price (I)

Statewide partisan

Governor

Democrat: Stacey Evans, Stacey Abrams

Republican: Hunter Hill, Casey Cagle, Clay Tippins, Brian Kemp, Eddie Hayes, Marc Urbach, Michael Williams.

Lieutenant governor

Democrat: Triana Arnold James, Sarah Riggs Amico

Republican: Rick Jeffares, David Shafer, Geoff Duncan

Secretary of state

Democrat: John Barrow, Rakeim "RJ" Hadley, Dee Dawkins-Haigler

Republican: Davis Belle Isle, Brad Raffensperger, Buzz Brockway, Josh McKoon

Attorney general

Democrat: Charlie Bailey

Republican: Chris Carr (I)

Agriculture commissioner

Democrat: Fred Swann

Republican: Gary Black (I)

Insurance commissioner

Democrat: Cindy Zeldin, Janice Laws

Republican: Jay Florence, Jim Beck, Tracy Jordan

State school superintendent

Democrat: Sid Chapman, Otha E. Thornton Jr., Sam Mosteller

Republican: John Barge, Richard Woods (I)

Labor commissioner

Democrat: Fred Quinn, Richard Keatley

Republican: Mark Butler (I)

Public Service Commission

District 3

Democrat: Lindy Miller, John Noel, Johnny C. White

Republican: Chuck Eaton (I)

District 5

Democrat: Doug Stoner, Dawn A. Randolph

Republican: Tricia Pridemore (I), John Hitchins III

Sources: Georgia secretary of state, Floyd County elections office.