Election commissioners adapting to changes ahead of Nov. election

Updated: Aug. 28, 2020 at 5:06 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The preparations for November’s election began all the way back in July, and there’s still plenty more for these commissioners to do and even some help they’ll need from voters.

Several changes await voters heading to the polls this year due to COVID-19.

“You gotta stay 6 feet apart of the person behind you and in front of you, your machines have to be six feet apart, workers can’t be as close together,” said Forrest County District 5 election commissioner Sue Polk. “Supposed to be furnishing you something so you don’t have to touch the machine and you should have on a mask.”

This year’s election will require a different set of resources for poll places than needed in previous years.

“We’ll be getting supplies from the secretary of state approximately, they told me yesterday, on the 21st of September of all we’re gonna need for this election,” Polk said.

Absentee ballot requests are expected to be higher this year.

“There’s going to be a lot more absentees,” Polk said. “There’s already over 300 requests for absentees.”

This year’s absentees will stay in the circuit clerk’s office, and a resolution board will be checking them on election day.

“Either accepting them or rejecting them, and then the circuit clerk’s office will have personnel to open the envelops and they’ll be counted,” Polk said.

If you choose to vote by absentee ballot, you will not be allowed to vote again at the polling place on election day.

Polk says election workers will need something from voters this year.

“To be patient, most of all to be patient because this is different, everything’s different, life is different right now for everybody,” Polk said.

To be safe as you’re heading, out Dr. Rambod Rouhbakhsh of Hattiesburg Clinic has a tip.

“Wear a mask, simple as that. If everyone wears a mask, you’re going to be OK,” Rouhbakhsh said. “The likelihood of two persons wearing a mask spreading disease is very very low.”

Polk is asking every registered voter to show up on election day, adding that while it may take some time, they will get your vote counted.

Also, you have 36 more days to get registered to vote.

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