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Board of Elections discuss security measures
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With a new election supervisor, a new board member, new plans and new equipment, the Liberty County Board of Elections is aiming for safe, smooth voting experiences.

One election is under way right now, a runoff to choose the Democratic nominee who will challenge First District Congressman Buddy Carter, a Republican. Lisa Ring and Joyce Griggs are on the Aug. 11, ballot and early voting is available at the elections office and at the county complex in Midway.

Voters who cast Republican ballots in the primary are not eligible to vote in the Democratic primary. With about 600 paper ballots returned and as many as 300 in-person votes cast, the runoff is drawing more attention than runoffs usually do.

Ronda Walthour, who was promoted to election supervisor last month, said, “Our top priority is the safety of the voters. All workers have completed training on health measures and use of personal protective equipment. Voters and staff will be safe and votes will be secure.”

After Probate Judge Nancy Aspinwall swore in new member Sharon Terry at the July 27 meeting the board discussed plans for upcoming elections. Board Chair Linda Martin said, “People don’t realize that five or six pieces of equipment are needed to cast one vote.”

Equipment and its storage, transport, set up and security are a major concern of board members. After getting a sample, the board voted to order 12 metal cages designed to secure voting equipment including during transport.

Officials hope to receive the cages this week and they may be in use for the Aug. 11, election. During the discussion focusing on security one member asked if there had ever been a break-in. No one present recollected any break-in.

Election officials also referred to future plans like providing more polling places including the western part of the county. Grace Baptist Church would be a possible location for future voting. County Commissioner Marion Stevens has said that some of his constituents in extreme eastern Liberty County have to drive excessively long distances to vote.

John McIver, former commission chairman who serves on the election board, said, “Let’s have our bible at our meetings,” referring to the documents, manuals and regulations governing the board. The board has a personnel policy adopted in 2009 but some members said it needed to be changed.

Martin said, “A clause has to be deleted,” apparently referring to a section dealing with family members. McIver flourished a copy of the Georgia handbook on open meetings and open records and reiterated that official documents should be available at meetings.

The board held a closed-door “executive” session said to be a personnel matter exempt from open meeting provisions. After the closed portion of the meeting Martin said a position would remain open.

Following the meeting board and staff visited the elections office in the Historic Courthouse to see a sample of a security cage and reorganization of some office space.

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