Some extra funding is coming to the Forsyth County Department of Voter Registration and Elections for new positions, advanced voting sites and technology ahead of the Nov. 3 General Election.
During a recent work session, county commissioners voted 4-0, with District 3 Commissioner Todd Levent recused, to approve $400,000 in a pair of motions to help with the November election.
“The majority of operating expenses listed are the result of adding advance voting locations,” Mandi Smith, director of the voter registrations and elections department, told commissioners.
Smith told the Forsyth County News that the funding will go toward:
· 100 additional carts to store and transport new voting machines;
· Additional tables and privacy screens for new equipment;
· Postage and office supplies due to an increase in mail-in voting;
· 11 laptops and scanners for new advance voting locations;
· 10 computers/laptops for additional staff;
· 20 hotspots to improve communication with poll workers during advance and election day voting;
· Two full-time positions;
· 12 permanent part-time positions;
· Additional hours for seasonal employees.
County Chief Financial Officer Dave Gruen said about $240,000 would go toward operating expenses and $160,000 would go toward personnel costs.
“It will be a great assistance to me and to the department,” Smith said.
The county is also opening six additional voting locations along with the five that had previously been planned. Advance voting will be held Monday, Oct. 12 through Friday, Oct. 30.
“Helping us now when it comes to social distancing due to COVID-19, we’ve limited the amount of election equipment at each polling place so that we can maintain social distancing,” Smith said. “So, by opening the additional locations the hope is that spreads it out, gives people more of an opportunity to vote in person. By doing that, it costs money.”
For the first week of advance voting, Monday, Oct.12 to Friday, Oct. 16 new advance voting location will be open at the Coal Mountain Park Community Building and the City of Cumming Recreation and Parks Facility, along with previously approved locations at the Forsyth County Voter Registrations and Elections Office, Hampton Park Library, the Parks and Recreation Natural Resources Operations Center and the Midway and Sharon Springs parks community buildings.
Beginning Saturday, Oct. 17, other new advance voting sites will open at Sharon Forks Library, Olde Atlanta Clubhouse and Windermere Lodge, and starting on Saturday, Oct. 24, the Sexton Hall Enrichment Center will be open for advance voting.
More information is available at forsythco.com/Departments-Offices/Voter-Registrations-Elections.