SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Chatham County Board of Elections is highlighting several crucial pieces of information today about the upcoming June 9th election.
That includes ten new temporary polling locations and how elections officials are working to keep poll workers and voters alike safe in a time of COVID-19.
Thomas J. Mahoney, Chair of the Chatham County Board of Elections said at today’s news conference, “We’re conducting this election safely and securely during the COVID-19 public health emergency.”
Up against coronavirus, and officially rolling out new voting machines for the first time, elections officials state-wide have their hands full.
In Chatham County, because of virus concerns voters at several precincts will have a new voting place on Tuesday.
“We’re having time relocate, and that is one of the most important things for us to stress, we’re having to relocate ten polls to temporary locations," said Mahoney.
Typically, elections officials will send out postcards to voters notifying them of poll location changes.
But with the Presidential Preference Primary/General Primary/Nonpartisan General election less than a week away, elections officials say the mail doesn’t move fast enough to get out 40,000 to 50,000 notifications.
So here’s the list of temporary precinct changes:
If you normally vote at St. Luke UMC, your temporary voting location will be at Compassion Christian Church on Old Montgomery Road.
Voters at Rose of Sharon will instead cast their ballot at Temple Mickve Israel.
Skidaway Island Methodist voters will temporarily vote at Skidaway Island Baptist.
Elks Lodge precinct voters will vote at Chatham Emergency Services Station One on White Bluff Road.
For voters at Jonesville Baptist, you’ll instead go to the Tatumville Community Center.
Savannah Commons precinct voters will head to Christ Memorial Baptist Church on Dutchtown Road.
Voters normally at Georgetown Elementary will vote at Chatham Fire’s station three on Grove Point Road.
Both Pooler Church and Legacy at Savannah Quarters precincts will move to the Pooler Recreation Center Gym.
And The Oaks at Pooler precinct voters will instead vote at the Royal Cinemas and IMAX at Towne Center Court.
Board of Elections officials explained the temporary changes are because many of these locations normally cater to an older, at-risk population, or are churches that haven’t opened back up.
Poll workers will also have a sneeze guard between them and voters, undergo health screenings, and regularly use sanitizer and clean surfaces.
“I imagine some of what we’re implementing for this election will endure through November. You’ll see sneeze guards I’m sure through November. You’ll see a lot of other things in PPP. As long as this is a threat, we have to protect our workers," said Russell Bridges, Elections Supervisor.
Bridges also mentioned a new shipment of personal protective equipment just came in from the state for poll workers.
If you’re voting in person, you’ll be spaced six feet from other voters in line.
You’ll also be asked, but not required, to wear a mask.
“If they choose to not wear a mask for example, they refuse, we will not deny them admission. That’s not in our purview. We just ask that the voters if they have one, bring it and wear it. It’s a courtesy to the people that you’re facing,” said Bridges.
Mahoney pointed out the Board of Registrars at this point has mailed out 45,000 absentee ballots, and has received more than a third of those back.
Click here for a sample ballot.