VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Lowndes County officials said hey’ve had a steady flow of voters on the first day but they are facing a big problem this year compared to the past voting seasons.
The lack of volunteers and poll workers has been an issue.
“Getting poll workers right now has been difficult, right now, we are short on about 130. That’s been the biggest hardship," said Tiffany Linkswiler, assistant supervisor of elections.
Since the pandemic, officials have tried to recruit volunteers at schools, organizations, churches and even put newspaper ads, but no luck.
“Right now , we are doing the 6-foot social distancing. We spread it out, that way in our lobby fewer people have been able to come in at one time. For voters coming in so they don’t have to touch the screen, they have a stylus that can be clean and sanitized after each use. And we do have gloves for our voters to use if they rather use a glove to touch. We do clean all of our equipment, at least once per hour, everything,” said Linkswiler.
The lobby that used to fit about 25 seats, now has nine. As far as safety protocols go for poll workers, they are wearing personal protective equipment. Every other machine has been turned on and it has kept up with the amount of people coming in.
Doors opened at 7 a.m. Monday morning.
As of noon, they had about 40-50 voters come in at a time and as of 6 p.m., there’s been about 160 voters.
In Lowndes County, their Elections office is the only site for early voting for the next three weeks.
It’s open, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Voters who don’t feel comfortable coming in, can drop off ballots in a box outside the front door during the early voting period and on Election Day. Or they can vote by absentee ballot.
Linkswiler said over 10,000 people have asked for ballots to be mailed. Usually, it’s about 2,000.
“Best time to come in, early. Avoid lunchtime, they come in right at work time, at lunch and right when they get off. So avoid those times. Come mid-morning, mid-afternoon. Are usually the best times to come in,” said Linkswiler.