Melanie Conrad will chair the Floyd County Board of Elections for 2021 and longtime elections clerk Vanessa Waddell will continue to serve as interim chief elections clerk.

The election board made the recommendations early Tuesday and they were confirmed by the Floyd County Commission that night.

Elections Board Chair Tom Rees will be stepping down and Corey Townsend will be taking his place as the third member.

“Thank you to Floyd County for giving me the opportunity and letting me serve on the board for the last seven years and serve as chair for the last two,” Rees said. “I hope I’ve done a good job. It hasn’t all been roses, but we’ve got the problems solved.”

Conrad thanked Rees for his time as chair and said they have really come to work as a team, especially over the last month.

“I see myself as more of the face of this board, but we all worked together as a team to achieve what we did,” she said.

Waddell’s new position will be temporary until the board “determines the final resting place of that position,” according to Rees, which will most likely be after the Jan. 5 runoff.

“We couldn’t have done anything we’ve done over this last month without her,” Conrad said.

Runoff election – early and absentee voting

Early voting for the Jan. 5 runoff will begin Monday at the Floyd County Administration Building and Garden Lakes Baptist Church.

Voters will be able to cast their ballots from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at both polling locations.

Weekend voting will take place Dec. 19 and 20 at both locations. It will run from from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. except on Sunday at the church, which will open at 1 p.m.

Both precincts will be closed on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 for the holiday weekend. Voting will resume on Dec. 28 and end on Dec. 31.

Waddell said preparations for the runoff have been slowed by the presidential election audit and recount, but they are working on mailing out absentee ballots.

She recommends voters request ballots by around Dec. 28 to make sure the ballot gets to the voter and back to the office in time for the election. The last day to request an absentee ballot is Jan. 1.

At least two absentee ballot drop boxes will be available before the election: one in front of the elections office at 12 E. Fourth Ave. and one in front of the Rome-Floyd County Library at 205 Riverside Parkway.

Elections Board member John Scott Husser said staff is working on getting three more ready, making sure they fit criteria set forth by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

When they’re ready, they’ll be placed at the Anthony Recreation Center, 2901 Garden Lakes Blvd.; the Gilbreath Recreation Center, 110 Garden Ave. in Lindale; and the Thornton Recreation Center, 102 North Floyd Park Road.

Boxes will be emptied every 72 hours by elections office staff. Husser said they will be looking for two volunteers from the Republican and Democratic parties to watch the process and ensure transparency between the elections office and voters.

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