Gwinnett elections workers gear up for runoff

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 6:38 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) -With the U.S. Senate race between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker going to a runoff, elections workers are gearing up to get the polls ready all over again.

“We take a breather. That’s the breather. And then we start all over again,” said Latasha Howard, the election coordinator over staffing and training for Gwinnett County.

“I think it’s universal that elections officials would’ve liked to not have a runoff. It basically crams everything that we do in 90 days into 28 days. All the preparation, all the processes, they still have to happen,” said Zach Manifold, Gwinnett’s election supervisor.

Not only do workers have to repeat Election Day, but they also have to wrap up everything from Tuesday: certifying and auditing votes and completing payroll for folks who worked, and then see if they’re ready to work again.

“We contact those individuals who worked the election and say, ‘hey, are you interested?’ and hope that they say yes. And if they do, our job is easy,” said Howard.

If they say no, the county has to recruit and train more poll workers, which is tricky to do right now since early voting dates aren’t set yet.

“So, the board will approve the advanced voting schedule, probably sometime early next week after we get the certification done of this election, but it’ll probably be, maybe about a week of advanced voting,” said Manifold.

Then comes the cost of a runoff.

“Our budget was definitely higher this year because we had to move the runoff that’s typically in January has been changed to December, so going from that 60-day runoff to 28 days, it kind of cuts right into the Calander year, so our budget this year was significantly more,” said Manifold.

The magnitude of this runoff probably means plenty of people back at the polls.

“It’s very high profile, and I think individuals are going to come right back out,” said Howard.

For people coming back out to vote, officials ask to vote early if possible. While those days aren’t set, polling places are the same. The Gwinnett Elections supervisor also says to get requests for a mail-in ballot in as soon as possible since this will be such a quick turnaround.