Georgia election officials plan to solve problems seen in primary

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office is working with county election officials to prevent a repeat of the chaotic June primary election, which included long lines to vote.

The jobs of poll workers will be announced through social media, newspapers and radio. Technology experts will be dispatched to install voting equipment. State election officials will inform counties where the precincts should be added.

These efforts are designed to help county election offices avoid problems in the Aug. 11 primary election and Nov. 3 presidential election, when turnout on Election Day is expected to be three times greater than primary.

Whether the measures work depends on the ability of election officials to recruit and train staff, add polling places, and manage the continuing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, which contributed to long wait times due to the requirements of social distancing.

“This will bring the community together” to find new polling places and solve problems, said Gabriel Sterling, elections manager in the secretary of state’s office. “We cannot force counties to do anything. We can give them tools to meet their needs. “

The effort is still in its early stages in the Atlanta metropolitan counties, where local election officials are still evaluating what went wrong in the primary election and trying to identify solutions. State election officials referred poll workers to understaffed counties and reviewed the data to determine the most overcrowded precincts.

In some cases, the polling places simply couldn’t handle all of the voters assigned to them, Sterling said. Some places had fewer than 100 voters during the day, while other precincts half a mile away registered 800 voters.

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