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Bigger budget requested for Macon-Bibb elections | News

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Bigger budget requested for Macon-Bibb elections
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Long lines and district confusion plagued the Macon-Bibb commission elections last year, and Election Supervisor Jeanetta Watson says it's an experience she doesn't want to repeat in the future.

"We just want to stay on top of things this year for voter integrity and so that people will come out and vote and maximize voter registration and voter turnout," says Watson.

To make that happen, Watson says she'll need a little more than $100,000 added to her budget. Much of that will pay for three new employees.

Watson says she would hire a full-time technician, a part-time employee to help with campaign filing, "and also someone there that will be able to handle redistricting and mapping and the day-to-day changes in streets and roads that need to be kept up and maintained more regularly than they have been in the past."

She says with the state legislature voting to move the next election cycle to May rather than July, the state and federal primary election now fall in this budget year instead of fiscal year 2015.

"Early voting will start earlier. We'll start in April. Everything was pushed up a couple of months, so we have to have people on staff. We have to have temporary people in the office to handle the volume of daily workload that comes in, and just everything," says Watson.

She also plans to ask for an additional $60,000 to pay for two ballot printing systems. She says those will help her get ballots out faster and reduce the amount of extras that get thrown away.

Watson also says she wants to start discussions with the commission about either expanding the current building on Pio Nono Avenue or moving the board of elections to a new facility. She says the current space is too small to handle long lines, accommodate elderly voters who need to wait inside, and keep voting machines secure.

She will present all of her requests to the commission in February.

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