A small fleet of rental trucks loaded with more than 500 electronic voting machines fanned out across Richmond County early Monday – one of the many details involved in preparing for today’s General Election.
The trucks and their crews had 50 polling places to set up. David Taylor had 12 stops to make in his truck, starting at Eastview Recreation Center and ending at Asbury United Methodist Church.
Taylor, a retired county maintenance employee, and his son, Jonathan, had the setup down to a science.
“It only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to set up one place,” he said.
By 9:30 they were working on their third location, Dyess Park. Taylor wheeled into the parking lot, and before he had come to a stop, Jonathan was out of the cab, helping direct his father while he backed in. Then, assisted by a crew of about four others, they quickly off-loaded a rolling cart full of equipment and went to work setting up the polling place.
In short order, they had six voting machines set up and were out the door and off to the next stop.
Jonathan Taylor said he has helped his father set up elections for more than half his life.
“I’ve been doing this since I was 13, and now I’m 30,” he said.
Richmond County Elections Director Lynn Bailey said all the polling places are normally set up no later than 3 p.m.
Even though nearly half of the 80,000 or so voters expected in this election have already cast their ballots – either through advance voting or by mail – Bailey still predicted some lines at the polls today.
“Everyone should expect some sort of wait,” she said.
Voters can dodge long lines by avoiding peak voting times – early in the morning, lunchtime and after 5 p.m.
“The best times to come will be 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.,” she said.
Unlike the past three weeks of advance voting, voters today will have to go to their designated polling places to cast ballots. Bailey urged voters to make certain of their polling places and to take a photo ID.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Anyone in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote, she said.
“We will mark the lines at 7 p.m. to make sure whoever is in line at that time can still vote,” she said.