Older Bibb County voters, those with impairments can avoid wait in line this week

Staff reportOctober 8, 2013 

Older voters and those with disabilities can move to the front of the line this week during early voting in Macon.

The Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections makes special provisions for voters 75 and older, those with disabilities and those who have visual or hearing impairments, said Jeanetta Watson, the elections supervisor. That includes special equipment that makes voting easier for them.

“We have a special section (at the elections office) that we have allocated for those 75 and older and those with disabilities,” she said. “They can come right to the front door and tell a poll officer, who will direct them to that area.”

That’s been particularly important this week, since early voting participation has been robust. On Monday, 926 people came to the office to cast their ballot in advance, meaning a wait for many people depending on the time of day they arrived.

Watson said office workers try and keep watch on those who are standing in line to vote.

If they see an older voter, for example, “we go out and get them” and bring them inside. Still, voters “need to bring it to our attention” if they qualify.

So far during this round of early voting, Watson said her office has fielded no complaints about issues that plagued advance voting in September.

The office continued to make corrections to the voter registration system in the weeks after dozens of voters complained they were listed in the wrong voting district.

“So far so good,” Watson said Tuesday.

All registered voters in Macon and Bibb County can vote in the mayoral runoff for the consolidated government, which pits incumbent Mayor Robert Reichert against former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis. There also are four commission races to decide:

• In District 2, Macon City Council members Henry Ficklin and Larry Schlesinger square off.

• In District 4, Mallory C. Jones III faces Macon Councilwoman Beverly Olson.

• In District 6, Councilman Ed DeFore is battling Adah Roberts.

• In District 8, Macon City Council members Charles Jones and Virgil Watkins Jr. face off.

The elections office is open from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. through Friday for early voting.

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