By Justin Boron
Local election officials say they aren't expecting long waits for the upcoming city elections although those cities using voter machines might experience some problems counting the ballots because of a software upgrade.
Waits were extremely long in Clayton County during the past presidential election. But with so few races on the ballot, local officials said they expect this year to be smooth sailing.
Three of the five cities holding elections on Nov. 8 will use paper ballots only, so counts in Jonesboro, Morrow, and Lake City won't be affected by new security software in touch-screen voting machines that have reportedly caused delays for recent local elections.
But Riverdale and Forest Park will be using the machines, their election superintendents said.
The new security software is designed to make electronic vote tampering more difficult.
Kira Hodgson, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State, said the new software would add only about 30 seconds for counts on each machine.
For cities like Riverdale, the added time would be negligible for its two-race ballot and three voting machines.
Forest Park Election Superintendent Leon Beeler said he will have 18 voting booths for the city's more than 6,600 registered voters. He said his 15-person staff should be sufficient to keep the voters moving through the polls.
“It won't be an army, but it will be a good squad,” he said, adding he didn't expect any delays counting or otherwise.
Another issue in the elections is whether the new voter identification law will be enforced.
The law would require voters to show a photo ID at the polls. When it passed during the General Assembly this spring, it stirred racial tensions and led voter and civil rights groups to fight it in the courts.
Earlier this month, a federal judge halted enforcement with a preliminary injunction, reverting the law back to the 17 forms of ID that were accepted before the Voter ID law passed. To learn more about the voting procedures, visit the Secretary of State at www.sos.state.ga.us.
Also the following is the most current number of registered voters in each city and the polling location for the Nov. 8 election.
Jonesboro- 1,567 Fire Station, 264 N. Main St.
Lake City- 1,144 Old City Hall, 5535 North Parkway
Morrow- 2,320 City Hall, 1500 Morrow Road
Forest Park- 6,601 Forest Park Recreation Center, 803 Forest Parkway
Riverdale- more than 7,000 City Hall, 6,690 Church St.