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I voted in-person today in Cobb County.

I voted in-person today in Cobb County.

Taking A Step Back

Spouse and I almost missed the opportunity to exercise our right to vote. How is this even possible? Easy — we didn’t know the local election results from the June 2020 primary. We were diligent about completing and mailing back the primary absentee ballot request form. Admittedly, we both were a bit irked that we didn’t “meet the criteria” to receive all of our voting ballots via absentee. I recall the criteria included being differently-abled, of a certain age and at least one other option. That’s right: COVID-19 concerns were not listed as a choice.

We received our absentee ballot a few weeks later. The ballot was 2 full pages with lots of folks running for local offices. This meant we spent time looking up each candidate’s background, experience and platform. With decisions made and our selections bubbled black, we mailed back our completed ballots. We don’t know if our ballot was received AND counted. (Could we work on providing information to those who completed their absentee ballot via official communication and feedback? Let’s add this to the post-November elections list of to-dos, please and thank you.)

Summer 2020 continues to wear on and we think we’ve done our civic duty. We’re waiting for information regarding early voting for the November election. By talking to a friend last week, I found out there was a run-off race on August 11th. Wait, what?

Back to the interweb machine to see who's on the ballot and where to cast our vote. Real talk. I was anxious about voting in person. I didn’t know what to expect like long lines, number of surfaces I’d touch and disinfection procedures. The experience was very pleasant. No lines. Everyone wore masks. And they wore them properly over their nose and mouth.

My Voting In-Person Experience

We were instructed by a poll worker to grab a tissue and select a stylus on the table. Then, we moved on to the voter check-in table with 5 or 6 stations (two rectangle tables pushed together). We handed our ids to the respective voting poll workers. Each of us had to use the stylus to confirm our voter registration details. It’s my understanding that the keycards contain the digital version of the ballot options: democrat, non-partisan, republican. After being given voter keycards and instructions on which voting booths to select, we made our selections using the stylus. Our selections were recorded and then a QR code was printed on a sheet of paper. The next stop was to drop off the stylus on another table, manned by another poll worker. This worker then explained how to insert the piece of paper into the large black machine. It looked like a large office copier that can scan, email, copy, collate and staple at the same time. He lastly explained that this machine actually cast our votes. The paper was taken by the machine.

And we were done. Two ballots cast. We grabbed our “I am a Georgia Voter” sticker and walked out.

Hope my account will help others who may be nervous about voting in person. Although I had a good experience, I'd still prefer to vote via absentee ballot.

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