As Georgia begins a hand recount of all ballots for the presidential election, one of the state’s highest populated counties is announcing its plans to conduct the recount while at the same time keeping election workers and observers safe from coronavirus infection.
DeKalb Voter Registration and Elections announced its plan to hand count more than 373,000 votes by the state-mandated timeline of Nov. 18.
“Since the Secretary of State announced the statewide audit, we have worked with partners, county departments and others to devise a plan that maintains the integrity of the process, includes enhanced safety protocols and promotes transparency for our office,” said DeKalb Voter Registration and Elections Director Erica Hamilton. “We will continue to do our best and show the nation they can count on DeKalb County.”
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise nationally, the elections office has also has partnered with the DeKalb County Board of Health to help establish best practices and guidelines to keep both staff and observers as safe as possible. From social distancing to providing additional personal protective equipment, the department is making efforts to ensure the audit can safely take place during the pandemic.
“Performing a hand count requires a robust staffing plan, comprised of multiple shifts and a thoughtful COVID-19 mitigation plan to minimize the risk to workers, observers and the media,” Hamilton said.
Additionally, DeKalb’s Department of Public Safety will provide 24/7 staffing of the audit location to secure the facility and the ballots throughout the process.
To promote social distancing for the two shifts needed to perform the labor-intensive hand count, the elections department is retrofitting one of its largest early voting sites–the former Sam’s Club in Stonecrest.
The two shifts each will include about 150 tabulators staffed by the county. Designated locations for public observers, news outlets and Secretary of State monitors will be identified.
At a Glance: ‘Count on DeKalb’ Risk Limiting Audit Efforts
- Audit Begins: Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020; beginning at 7 a.m.
- Location: Former Sam’s Club, 2994 Turner Hill Rd., Stonecrest, GA 30038
- Staffing: Two shifts of approximately 150 tabulators, 300 in total
- Staffing Times: Shift 1: 7 a.m.–3 p.m.; Shift 2: 3:30–11 p.m.
- COVID-19 Precautions: Social distancing, required PPE for DeKalb personnel, mask mandate for all observers, disinfecting between shifts, temperature checks required upon entry.