Polls supplies

Pierce County Board of Elections will receive personal protective equipment (PPE) to help guard against the spread of COVID-19 at the polls in November.

Local elections officials coordinated with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to request masks, face shields, gloves and disinfecting wipes from Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security (GEMA/HS).

 GEMA/HS has agreed to fulfill the full request and will ship the requested PPE directly to county elections officials. Pierce County requested 100 masks, 100 face shields, 12,000 pairs of gloves and 20 boxes of disinfectant wipes.

According to a press release from Raffensperger’s office released last week, the coordinated effort between the Secretary of State and GEMA is an attempt to protect both poll workers and voters in the general election.

“In-person voting remains an important way for Georgia voters to access the ballot so I am doing whatever I can to make that experience safe and easy,” said Raffensperger. “I want to thank GEMA for their past and continued support of elections in Pierce County and across Georgia with much-needed personal protective equipment. This will enable our poll workers and local officials to provide safe and secure ballot access to the millions of in-person voters expected in November.”

A total of 153 counties have requested more PPE through the Office of the Secretary of State and GEMA/HS.

The PPE requests come on top of an order for 11,000 gallons of hand sanitizer that the Office of the Secretary of State placed earlier this year. The hand sanitizer will also be distributed to the counties ahead of the November elections.

Earlier this year, GEMA/HS provided 84,000 masks, 290,000 gloves and hand sanitizer for county elections officials ahead of the June 9 primary election. The Office of the Secretary of State coordinated the order and distributed it to county elections officials.

In addition, before the June 9 elections, the Secretary of State’s office purchased and distributed 35,000 masks, hundreds of thousands of gloves, 27,500 bottles of hand sanitizer and 60,000 stylus pens for voters to use when they voted. The Secretary of State’s office also provided $3,000 grants to Georgia’s counties to purchase additional PPE on their own.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and record absentee ballot votes cast by mail, significant numbers of Georgia voters turned out in-person to vote. A total of 810,000 Georgia voters went to the polls to cast their ballot June 9. An additional 325,000 cast their ballots early and in-person during the state’s three weeks of early voting.

Voter turnout in November is expected to be three times as high due to the presidential election.

Georgia continues to set records for voter turnout and election participation, seeing the largest increase in average turnout of any other state in the 2018 midterm election and record primary turnout in 2020, with over 1.1 million absentee by mail voters and over 1.2 million in-person voters utilizing Georgia’s new voting system.