Is Columbus Ready for Vote 2008?

By Laurie Bernstein -  bio | email

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM)-Back in the 2004 Presidential Election, registered voters in Columbus numbered just over 100,000 strong.

Fast forward to four years later...

"We are planning for 100,000 people to vote by election day," said Nancy Boren, Supervisor of Elections for Muscogee County.

Yes, you heard right.

That is people who will actually cast ballots, not just register.

With voters more excited than ever before, local elections offices took notice early on.

"When we saw 42% turnout for the Presidential Preference primary, we geared up and knew what we would be facing in November," said Boren.

With phones ringing off the hook, and the mountains of paperwork that had to be processed, Boren needed more help this year to get things done.

"We usually hire temporaries, but it's usually only four or five based on how big the election is. For this election, we have hired 15 temporaries in the office," said Boren.

Another part of the plan includes greeters at all the precincts, to answer any questions voters may have.

Boren's staff is also taking advice from places like Disney World and Six Flags to learn how to manage the Election Day lines.

Finding poll workers is not a problem for Boren either, with stacks of applications sitting in her office.

"The good part of Muscogee County is that we have a wonderful group of well-trained poll workers, so we don't have to search for them. They have worked in elections for many, many years," said Boren.

Of course, early voting is key to ensure less people waiting in line on Election Day.

"We've seen 10,000 people so far, so there is no reason why we can't reach 30% of turnout before then," said Boren.