COBB COUNTY, Ga - Those who choose to vote early in Cobb County for the January runoff election have five voting sites, fewer than half of the locations that were available for the November election.
Cobb County expanded the number of early voting sites in November to accommodate record-breaking voter turnout, but after an audit and recounts, the director of elections said they were forced to cut down on early voting locations because workers are burnt out.
“People have really hung in there, worked really, really hard,” Cobb Director of Elections, Janine Eveler told FOX 5’s Alex Whittler
Long lines, grueling hours, and several recounts have a number of Cobb County elections workers tapping out for the runoff election.
“We actually lost some people and the rest that were willing to work are not willing to work 14 hour days, 6 days a week for 3 weeks,” she said.
Starting December 14, those in Cobb County who wish to vote early for Georgia’s two Senate runoff races can cast a ballot at five locations: two in Marietta, and the others in Kennesaw, Austell, and Powder Springs.
That’s less than half of Cobb’s November early voting options.
The county originally had nine sites and added two more in the final weeks.
“You put all your resources into the big election but that’s not something we can sustain for every election,” Eveler said.
Eveler said the decrease in January's early voting sites is a direct result of a lack of manpower.
“People are tired. This is the last election of the cycle. But it has been an extraordinary election cycle,” she said.
Fewer managers at those sites mean less early voting locations.
“We were only able to retain the experienced staff by working them in shifts, so we had to combine the experienced staff so that they could work reasonable hours during the holidays,” she said.
Eveler said the county is taking other measures to ensure the decrease in early voting locations plays no role in voter efficiency.
“I think the voting flow will be faster because it is a short ballot and we are increasing check-in stations,” Eveler said.
Eveler explained this isn’t a matter of hiring more people. The director of elections said workers would need to be trained, even if they’ve worked at a poll before and there’s not enough time to complete that training.
Other metro counties such as Fulton, Gwinnett, and DeKalb have plans to maintain the early voting sites they had in November for the January runoff.
Download the FOX 5 Atlanta app for breaking news and weather alerts.