Not enough poll workers, efficiency with laptops results in long line at some precincts

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The combined Williamston and Williamston’s Mill Precinct wasn’t the only polling places that experienced problems during primary voting on Saturday. Central Presbyterian and McCants in Anderson both experienced a long line. According to Katy Smith, Director of Anderson County Registrations and Elections, a combination of few poll workers and not enough computers, and/or a lack of efficiency in using the laptops to confirm voters information among volunteers that did work was the cause. Voter turnout was also higher than the last two presidential preference primaries, Smith said.

Smith said extra laptops were deployed to some areas to try to decrease wait times. “Some of our volunteers are slower on the laptops than others,” Smith said. “We are asking those that may be more efficient in maneuvering laptops to run them to help decrease wait times. In some instances we were able to pull election staff to put in some precincts with heavier turnout that simply did not have the volunteers that were more efficient in typing on the laptops.”

“We tried different avenues of recruiting poll managers for these Saturday Elections, but unfortunately the response to work these elections was a lot lower than normal. We attempted continuously to recruit, but some responses we received was that “I will be on vacation or out of town” or simply, “I cannot work these elections,” Smith said. “Recruitment of Election Workers is and always has been a struggle. However, we were very fortunate to get the number of Election Workers that we did and they have put their heart into making these elections successful and trying their best to limit wait times.”

According to Smith, 975 letters were mailed to potential election workers to recruit for the Presidential Preference Primary elections; not everyone responded.

Anderson County Elections needed 359 poll workers for the Presidential Preference Primaries whose pay would be reimbursed by State Election Commission to the County.

In Anderson County, 308 Election Workers volunteered to work and were trained. Thirty-three of those that volunteered and were trained quit before the Republican PPP

Also one clerk was admitted to the hospital the Friday before the Election, one clerk got the flu and quit the Friday before the Election, one clerk got sick and quit the Friday night before the Election

“We were able to get 65 Clerks and 210 Election Workers to work the Republican PPP for a total of 275 workers,” Smith said.

Election Staff was deployed to help resolve issues where polls were short of Election Workers she said.