Counting ballots

County technician Aric Thompson stacks absentee ballots to be counted alongside county election chief clerk Robert Brady on Wednesday afternoon.

A noon elections board meeting didn’t officially start until after about two hours when roughly 10 people went up to the podium to ask questions and voice concerns regarding the June 9 primary.

The election supervisor’s report described election day itself as “uneventful with a remarkably low instance of equipment problems for a new voting system.”

Many of the poll workers and speakers claimed the contrary and described some of the troubles they had regarding training and handling the new equipment leading up to election day.

“I was a worker at East Lindale and I arrived at 6 a.m. with no training whatsoever,” Mallory Rogers said.

The poll worker went on to say that while Floyd County Chief Elections Clerk Robert Brady said the managers had training, her manager didn’t know what to do when a few voters showed up to submit absentee ballots. Rogers also described trouble with setting up the equipment on election day.

Other poll workers and managers came up to the podium to say that they felt like they didn’t receive enough training and one of them even held up the packet the Floyd County poll workers received to compare to another bigger training packet poll workers from another county received.

Brady said many of the poll workers the county currently has are still trying to get used to the new equipment, which the county has had on hand for the last several months.

The previous voting equipment was in use for 18 years. The chief elections clerk also talked about how they constantly received changes regarding the election and voting process everyday.

Daniel Eason talked about how several precincts opened up late and said he spoke to several people who went to different locations and experienced issues with submitting ballots and long wait times to get inside. Eason said he visited one precinct and found voters waiting outside in the rain for more than an hour.

“When I looked inside the precinct, it was a madhouse in there, no social distancing,” he said.

After briefly speaking with one of the poll workers, he learned that three out of the four machines had been down until 5 p.m.

Moving forward

While the presidential election is almost four months away, the Republican runoff for Floyd County sheriff and U.S. House District 14 will take place on Aug. 11.

After listening to the numerous complaints, Floyd County Board of Elections Chair Tom Rees said they will be taking everything the speakers said into consideration moving forward.

Melanie Conrad said they will also begin working on better communication among the board and citizens after some of the speakers talked about how they didn’t get much of a response from the board when they sent emails.

Rogers and other poll workers proposed using social media to get the word out to people about the need for more poll workers. Conrad and Rogers are planning on meeting up again soon to discuss this idea further.

To become a poll worker, one must be at least 16, a resident of the county and you can’t have a relative on the ballot.

Early voting for the runoff election will take place at the Rome Civic Center at 400 Civic Center Drive beginning July 20 and ending on Aug. 7 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To get an absentee ballot, contact the Floyd County Elections Office at 706-291-5167 or visit the Rome-Floyd website and go to the Elections page to print out an application. The form can then be mailed back to the office or emailed to Brady at bradyr@floydcountyga.org.

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