Chatham Co. board of elections prepares for Election Day

Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 6:08 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Election Day 2022 is now just less than two months away and elections officials in Chatham County are getting the latest updates on preparations underway.

That includes training poll workers and getting voting machines ready to deploy to the polling locations county-wide.

One of the main topics covered by Chatham County Elections Supervisor Billy Wooten were the challenges Senate Bill 202 will present to elections offices state-wide, particularly in larger counties like Chatham, when it comes to the audit process between Election Day and a likely runoff election.

SB 202 changed that window from nine weeks, to only four, giving elections office workers less time to certify the election and prepare early voting for the runoff.

“The compressed timeframe puts a tremendous amount of pressure on our processes, on our procedures and on our people,” said Wooten.

Wooten pointed out to Board members during today’s meeting a Risk Limiting Audit at the direction of state elections officials also had to be done. He says he doesn’t have a problem with doing the audit, but he does not like the time frame.

“We’ll get it done, but it’s going to be difficult.”

WTOC also asked Wooten about the GBI looking into a possible voting data breach in Coffee County, and if Chatham would be ready should any last minute changes to the elections process following the outcome of that investigation.

“We’ll be ready for whatever the state tells us to do. Yeah.”

Wooten says he’s anticipating a similar turnout on Election Day this year compared to 2018, around 60,000 voters or more, highlighting the importance for people to read their sample ballots ahead of time…especially the six questions on this year’s ballot.

“We want to do everything we can to educate the public about those six questions and what they mean. How do they impact residents of Chatham. And the best thing to do is read them.”

These are the proposed constitutional amendments, state-wide referendums and special elections questions that you’ll see on the ballot this November here in Chatham county.

The elections office is canvassing the county, handing these out at community meetings and even at the office, for anyone who wants to read up.