SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Chatham County Commissioners took time Friday to hear directly from Chatham County election leaders. They not only wanted to address the concerns from June, but improve on the process for November.
“Once you’ve been through the experience you always learn where you could have done better, or where you needed to tighten up on or something that you overlooked,” explained Russell Bridges, Chatham County Elections Supervisor. “And the exacerbating thing this year was, there was a break in training because of COVID.”
New machines, delayed elections, increased absentee ballots, and a global pandemic all played into the issues for Chatham County Board of Elections. In June they saw two times more votes than in 2018 and they got 31,000 absentee ballots alone.
“It was a complete sea change in how the votes were cast and how the votes were counted,” said Thomas Mahoney III, Chairman for the Chatham County Board of Elections. “But I assure you that everybody had the opportunity to vote and everybody had their votes counted.”
They say come November they will be better prepared to handle the voters. They are working on their equipment needs, securing polling sites and looking to increase their staffing to start.
“We’re looking at ways to advertise and increase the intake, increasing the quality of workers we get and having a support team to help us with that increased growth,” explained Bridges.
Commissioners voiced their opinions on what the board of elections needs to do to improve.
“The fault that I see with your office is that you’re not doing enough field work and you do not do enough community work,” said Commissioner James Holmes, District 2.
“I don’t think and I don’t see that we’re doing everything that we possibly can to ensure we don’t have a ten day delay like we had in the Georgia primary just last month,” explained Commissioner James Jones, District 6. “And so, I concur what other steps are we going to do other than just the normalcy?”
Board of Election leaders took notes during the meeting and say their tough lessons will help them be better come November.