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Macon-Bibb committee approves more election funds | News

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Macon-Bibb committee approves more election funds
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Macon-Bibb's operation and finance committee approved $100,000 in additional funding to prepare for this year's early election.

That's after the General Assembly moved state and local elections to May instead of July.

That means costs for the primary election fall in this year's budget instead of fiscal 2015.

"That pushed all of our preparations for the election at least 2-3 months early. Initially in our budget, we had not planned to hold an election prior to the end of July," Jeanetta Watson, elections supervisor, said.

Watson says much of the money will go to hiring three more staffers.

That includes a full-time technician and an employee who will handle re-districting and mapping changes.

She also wants the Commission to approve a second early voting location.

"We have over 90,000 voters, active and inactive, and we have one office for all of them to come and early vote at. Generally we can handle the capacity but in our larger elections, we are pressed for space," Watson said.

That expansion will cost more than $90,000 the first year, but commissioner Elaine Lucas says it's not about the money.

"The guarantee that voters have to the voting process, you don't put a price on that," Lucas said.

Last year's county elections were plagued by long lines and confusion.

Some voters were placed in the wrong districts and voted in the wrong races.

Watson says she's confident those problems won't be repeated this year.

"We're working really closely with our county IT department, tax assessors, anybody that can give us accurate district lines with the census blocks. We utilized all of that and compare to make sure we're all on the same page," Watson said.

Lucas says she had concerns about mistakes in previous elections, but that this next election will be different.

"I'm satisfied that the Board of Elections has initiated a process that's going to double-check the accuracy of folks' voting places," Lucas said.

The full Commission is scheduled to vote next week on whether to approve the additional funds.

Follow 13WMAZ's Anita Oh on Twitter @anita_oh and on Facebook at Anita Oh WMAZ.


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