TOWNS COUNTY, Ga – Board of Elections announced that the August 11 runoff elections will take place in the same polling location as the General Primary.
After speaking with the Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office, Board of Elections Chairman Janet Olivia and Office Supervisor Rachel Edwards stated that the runoff election must “be consistent” with the primary. In other words, the decision to only open one polling station will still be in effect for the runoff.
COVID-19 forced the Board of Elections to close four of the five polling stations in Towns County. The decision took into account the safety of residents and poll workers as well as liability concerns.
“We had trained 30 [poll workers], but when we get got a reply back, we had less than 12 that were interested in working,” Olivia explained. “Also, the individuals in control of the polling places were concerned about the issue of using the polling place locations because of the liability and responsibility.”
If the government owns the polling location, then it takes on the responsibility of sanitizing the area to combat the spread of COVID-19. EMS Director Brandon Walls and his team assisted in ensuring the cleanliness of the Board of Elections and Civic Center building.
However, other polling locations, such as the lodge and church, private citizens would be responsible for cleaning and separating large crowds of people.
The elections and civic center building was only government facility available for the General Primary and just enough poll workers to staff it.
4,754 Towns residents voted during the June 9 General Primary with 2,732 absentee votes, and 1,166 early votes. Around 10,500 people are registered to vote in Towns County.
Early voting for the runoff will begin on July 20. Absentee ballots for the runoff must be requested. The Secretary of State won’t mass mail absentee applications for the August 11 election.
Races appearing on the August 11 runoff will be Towns County Sheriff between Kenneth “Ode” Henderson (R) and Daren “Bear” Osborn (R), State Senator District 50 between Stacy Hall (R) and Bo Hatchett (R), Congressional Ninth District on the Republican Ticket Matt Gurtler and Andrew Clyde, and Ninth District on the Democrat Ticket Devin Pandy and Brooke Siskin.
Due to J.C. Berrong’s untimely passing, the Towns County Republican Party can run another candidate in his place and one individual has qualified. Michael Anderson of Scataway will appear on the ballot for Tax Commissioner in November. Bruce Rogers (D-I) will also be on the ballot.
The Board of Elections applied for several grants to reimburse the expenses associated with the new voting machines as well.
“These ladies do a great job. They put in a tremendous amount of hours down there and I’m very thankful to have them. As commissioner, I don’t know what I would do without them. They are very dedicated and do a good job, added Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw.