Barbie Mock, 54, was appointed as the new Elections Administrator at a Board of Elections meeting on Tuesday, September 20, 2022. She will officially start her duties on October 14, 2022, when current Elections Administrator Lisa Paradice, 65, retires.
Mock will supervise the upcoming election of November 8, 2022, although she already has considerable experience with elections during her three years at the Tattnall Elections Office. Paradice had a stroke in 2020, so Mock handled most of the election duties for several months. The office only employs one other person, Kathy Hill, one day a week; however, closer to the election date, Hill often works additional days.
This past week involved Logic and Accuracy testing, which is a check on all the machines used in early voting and on election day. This testing is performed before every election.
Mock explained that the process starts in the Electronic Management System (EMS) room in the Elections office, which involves accessing the database and the downloading of a flash drive to load the election ballot onto the touch screen and memory cards for the scanners.
Over several days, the poll workers will undergo four to five hours of training, which is done before every election, since a passage of two years often occurs between elections and a review of the procedures and protocol are needed.
“It is all about technology now, and that is why this testing begins early and is often repeated so that we have no glitches in early voting and on election day,” Mock said.
The absentee ballots are scanned and networked into the computer system, all offline.
At least three days prior to the actual election, more testing is conducted in addition to what has already been done the week of September 19 through 23 and until all units have been tested. The final upload of the most current activity is done on Saturday, November 5, after early voting has ended.
Barbie reported that the logic and accuracy testing ensures that the machines have their counting device intact, which provides a number on how many voted on each machine.
“Sometimes, when the touchscreen won’t connect to the printer, we do just what you do at home or at the office, we turn it off and back on as the first step. Of course, sometimes it is something else that we can trouble shoot to find the cause,” Mock said.
Even though the testing is extensive prior to the election, a device or printer may malfunction on election day, and usually this is not a problem since a backup is often available and Tattnall County’s precincts usually do not have long lines.
“Now is the time to request an absentee ballot. The last date that we can mail out an absentee ballot to you is October 28th (11 days before the election), and these are due back by November 8 at 7 p.m. We have a list of elderly, disabled, and others to whom we automatically mail absentee ballots,” Mock said. “Poll workers on voting day will access a Poll Pad, which creates the card in which the voter inserts into the Ballot Marking Device that allows them to cast their vote. After voting, a paper ballot is printed out; if it is a long ballot with a lot of offices to be voted and questions as well, the printer will often print on the back, too. Your poll worker will usually remind you of this so that you don’t remove the paper ballot before it is fully printed. Also, once the card is voted, it cannot be used again and is returned to the poll worker.”
Also, when you go to the polls to vote, early or on election day, you are asked to bring your driver’s license with you, which is also a photo ID. Your name can be accessed on the registered voters’ list by your driver’s license number. Of course, you are not required to have a driver’s license to vote, but some type of photo ID is needed to make sure you are the person listed on the voter registration list.
“The last thing that we do is to scan the ballots into the machine after all the devices are thoroughly checked,” Mock said.
This checking process is done for each of the eight precincts, and it is a process that cannot be hurried. Each Ballot Marking Device has a counter on the number of voters who cast votes, and the paper ballot is just another check on the accuracy.
One Ballot Scanner is at each precinct, and these are not taken to the precinct until the day before the election and are monitored by the Sheriff’s Department. A Ballot Scanner is also kept at the Elections Office. A demo model is used for training.
On election day, usually there are two Poll Pads and a predetermined number of Ballot Marking Devices, according to the number of voters in each precinct. Even though two are not usually needed, one is readily available as a backup if one malfunctions. Each precinct has a manager and two assistant managers, and a clerk if needed, but at least three poll workers at each precinct.
“During our logic and accuracy testing, we mark every Democrat ballot, then every Republican ballot, and then Libertarian ballot and answer all the questions to make sure that every item on the ballot can be accessed by the voter. Yes, it takes a lot of time, but is required to ensure the ballot is correct and any item on it can be voted,” Mock said.
After these ballots are “voted” during the checking process, the BMDs and scanners are zeroed out.
“We handle the federal, state, and county elections as well as the elections for each city. We handle the qualifying as well for the cities of Glennville, and Manassas, but Collins, Cobbtown and Reidsville handle their own qualifying process,” Mock said. “If an out-of-precinct voter comes to the polls after 5 p.m., the person will be able to vote but the voter will still fill out an affidavit and vote provisionally.”
The Registrar and Administrator Elections staff members are also required to attend 12 hours of annual training provided by the Georgia Association of Voter Registration and Elections Office. At least one Elections Board member attends this training, and sometimes all board members will attend.
Dennis Odom is Chairman of the Tattnall Elections and Registration Board, and others are Jessie Rhodes, the Democrat member; and newly appointed Jimmy Durrence, the Republican member. He replaces Elaine Wallace, who recently moved out of the county, and it is a requirement as a board member to live in the county.
Below includes Elections information for the November 8, 2022, election:
Absentee ballots for the November 8, 2022, election will be accepted through October 28, 2022.
The last date to register to vote or change registration information is October 11, 2022.
Advance/early voting will be held Monday, October 17, 2022, through Friday, November 4, 2022, at the Tattnall County Elections Office on 114 W. Brazell Street, Reidville, Georgia, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Other early voting locations are in Collins and Glennville October 31-November 4 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Saturday voting will be held on October 22 and 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Elections office in Reidsville.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. All election day polling sites will be open for Collins, Cobbtown, Manassas, Tison, Shiloh, Reidsville, and Glennville.
Computation and Canvassing of Election Returns, pursuant to O.C.G.A. 21-2-492, will begin on Wednesday, November 9, at 8 a.m. at the Tattnall County Elections Office at 114 W. Brazell Street, Reidsville, and be certified by Monday, November 14, 2022.
A new law provides that if a voter goes to the incorrect polling place on election day and it is before 5 p.m., then the voter is required to go to their specific polling place. If you are in doubt about the location of your polling place, call the Elections office, preferably before election day, at (912) 557-6417 or 557-1839.