In the effort to make sure everyone’s vote, the Thomas County Board of Elections is rearranging polling places. 

For many voters who have for years voted at one of the city’s elementary schools, they now will instead go to the Thomas County Public Library on election day. This isn’t a decision brought by the schools but it was made, partially, with the schools in mind, particularly the schools’ safety. 

The new voting machines also require more space. Instead of going to one screen and putting in a card and recording your vote, 

Now, voters will cast their ballot and get a paper recording of their vote. Voters can check that paper ballot to see if their choices were marked accurately. That ballot will then be scanned and recorded. Those ballots must be kept for two years. 

The new machines also will require a guard to stay with them overnight before the poll workers come in on election day and a guard to that night as well before the machines are picked up the following day. 

The new machines mean more poll workers are needed and more space is needed to set up those 

The county’s lease of the old Video Warehouse location on East Jackson Street could make early voting much easier — and early voting has become more and more prevalent. According to county elections supervisor Frank Scoggins, more than 70 percent of the Thomas County votes cast in the last presidential election were done by either early voting or absentee ballot. County officials encourage early voting and we agree. With moving to the new spot on East Jackson, officials believe there is ample room for the machines and also plenty of parking available. At some of the schools, parking was tricky. 

New voter registration cards will go out soon, informing voters of polling place changes. 

If you have questions about the new voting machines, the state Secretary of State’s office has set up a website, securevotega.com, for more information. 

Early voting has been one of the great initiatives to help citizens cast their ballots and we hope more people use it, especially with the new spot in the old video rental space. 

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