ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Dougherty County Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson said they need to hire two new people, install three new absentee ballot drop boxes and secure a government vehicle in the coming months.
“The total recommended elections budget adjustment is $152,000 and I’m gonna start at the bottom. $112,000 of the $152,000 recommended budget adjustment is for two full-time employees, their salaries and benefits," said Dougherty County Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas.
The commission has denied this request in the past.
Nickerson said they can’t make it through the next election without help.
“Without the assistance of our brothers and sisters in the county, we would not have made it through June. We were essential workers, so you’re talking about three people doing the work for Dougherty County. Without the sheriff’s department, without the library staff, without finance and without the county, we would have never made it," said Nickerson,
Nickerson also said she needs more money for part-time help this election year. She and the commission agree, this increase is typical every four years to help with costs for the general election.
The board is also asking for $20,000 to put up additional absentee ballot drop boxes across Dougherty County, like the one that was installed outside the government center Monday morning.
“The estimated cost of security cameras is $18,000. We know that there are state-mandated guidelines for the drop boxes and security cameras must be provided. They also must be able to provide a certain type of recording that must be maintained for a certain time frame. So that was the cost estimated in the cameras. The boxes themselves was the $1,200," explained Nickerson.
If approved, the three new boxes would be installed at the Tallulah Massey, Southside, and Northwest libraries.
There was a consensus among most of the commissioners to approve the funding request if the elections board will consider cutting costs in other areas.
“I would hope that if this board is willing to move forward with funding for dropboxes and the capital expenses associated with that, the elections board would be receptive to consolidating some of those 28 precincts and saying to the folks that yell and fuss and scream about closing those precincts or consolidating them, that, ‘You’ve got four drop boxes, we have early voting, and perhaps we have 24 precincts for you to make use of.’ And maybe, just maybe, hopefully, that can result in some cost savings within the organization itself, particularly on election day which is its most expensive days," said Cohilas.
The Dougherty County Commission will vote on the adjusted elections budget at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Sept. 21.