Georgia secretary of state offers insight into what Columbus voters might see on election day

Updated: Oct. 23, 2020 at 8:42 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he is expecting over two million voters on election day.

With this many people, long lines are expected, but he hopes the extra voting equipment that many Georgia counties received will help alleviate some frustrations along with early voting.

“You have two different candidates, two different parties, and two different visions. And I think both sides are energized and that’s why people are really out there,” Raffensperger said.

Raffensperger said that is the reason why Georgia is seeing a record number of voters during this election period.

Roughly 1.5 million Georgia residents have already voted early.

Raffensperger said with less than two weeks out from election day, if you have not already early voted, now would be a good time. It could help reduce the crowds at the polls Nov 3.

“We have another week to go of in-person voting, the next five days and Saturday voting," Raffensperger said. "We would encourage that because what that does is take the pressure off of Tuesday, Nov. 3rd.”

Columbus saw many problems during the June election when some precincts, like the one at Canaan Baptist Church, had to shut down temporarily due to problems with voting equipment. This caused voters to stand in line for several hours.

Raffensperger said that won’t happen again.

“We have added about another 300 to 400 precincts that we did not have in June, so that will help everyone statewide. But then also, we sent to the counties additional scanners. Anything that they wanted, they have.”

Another issue that led to the widespread problems voters experienced in the county during the June election was not having enough poll workers due to the isolating effects of COVID-19.

Raffensperger said it was the first election the state’s new voting machines were rolled out and many poll workers did not have the hands-on experience they needed to understand the new equipment.

“They still had not had enough training,” Raffensperger said. "But now, we have enough poll workers and we also have had an opportunity to have enough training. So, voters in Muscogee County are going to be in much better shape.”

As for the issue of voter suppression in minority demographic areas, Raffensperger said this is something that is not tolerated. There was some concern about this during the June 9 primaries when specific precincts in heavily populated areas in Columbus saw the moat amount of problems out of the entire county.

Raffensperger commented about the concerns over the safety of absentee ballots after one viewer reported being handed hers from an FBI agent after a citizen in a different state found it. He said the best way to ensure your ballot gets to the election office on time is by dropping it off in a secured absentee ballot drop box that is monitored at all times.

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