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JOINT PRESS RELEASE

October 2, 2020

DOUGHERTY COUNTY MEDIA CONTACT:

WENDY HOWELL

PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER

229.302.3006 or 229.854.0006

whowell@dougherty.ga.us



CITY OF ALBANY MEDIA CONTACT:

MONIQUE BROUGHTON KNIGHT

PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER

229.302.1341 or 229.733.2225

mbroughton@albanyga.gov



Dougherty County Receives Center for Tech and Civic Life Grant as Part of COVID-19 Response Grant Program

DOUGHERTY COUNTY, GA - As part of the COVID-19 Response Grant program, Dougherty County has been awarded the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) grant in the amount of $295,235, which provides grants to local election jurisdictions across the country to help ensure they have the staffing, training, and equipment necessary this election year so that every eligible voter can participate in a safe and timely manner to ensure their votes are counted. The City of Albany assisted the County in facilitating the grant application.

In September, the Dougherty County Board of Elections (BOE) held a Special Called Meeting to address concerns from SOWEGA Rising, Albany/Dougherty NAACP, and 9to5 Georgia, to make absentee ballot voting more accessible throughout the community. As a result of these concerns, the BOE voted in favor of installing three additional absentee ballot drop boxes in East Albany, South Albany, and Northwest Albany, which locations include Tallulah Massey Library, Southside Library, and Northwest Library Branch.

“With the significance of this year's election, we wanted to ensure that Dougherty County residents have the necessary tools, resources, and staffing to have a fair, secure, and safe way to cast their ballots in November,” stated City Commissioner Demetrius Young, Ward VI.

“The Board of Elections was proactive with a request for additional absentee ballot drop boxes for voters in Dougherty County this election year,” said Frederick Williams, Chair of the Dougherty County Board of Elections. “We are pleased that through this grant award, Dougherty County will be able to recover the unexpected costs of these additional drop boxes and other costs associated with the installation, monitoring, and collection of ballots from these locations.”

The CTCL grant covers certain 2020 election expenses incurred between June 15, 2020 and December 31, 2020, which include the costs associated with the safe administration of certain election responsibilities. Some of these include maintaining open in-person polling places on Election Day, providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and personal disinfectant to protect election officials and voters from COVID-19, and the support and expansion of drive-thru voting, including purchasing of additional signage, tents, traffic controls, walkie-talkies, and other safety measures.

“With this funding, our office will be able to provide additional equipment to count absentee ballots at a faster rate and provide more election day supplies, such as state required paper utilized in ballot printers, as well as ink for the printers, and other supplies,” said Ginger Nickerson, Supervisor for the Dougherty County Voter Registration and Elections division. “We greatly appreciate this grant and the opportunities it will afford us in order to meet our unforeseen and unbudgeted needs with facilitating elections this year.”

Additionally, the grant covers the recruitment and hiring of a sufficient number of poll workers and inspectors to ensure polling places are properly staffed, providing voting facilities with funds to compensate for increased site cleaning and sanitization costs, and delivery of updated training for current and new poll workers administering elections in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will also support the expansion and maintenance of the number of in-person early voting sites, as well as deployment of additional staff and/or technology improvements to expedite and improve mail ballot processing.

“The Dougherty County Board of Commissioners received the request for the funding of additional absentee ballot drop boxes and accompanying requirements from the Board of Elections and our board voted and approved to fulfill this request to further accommodate the needs of our voters in Albany and Dougherty County amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in our community,” said Christopher S. Cohilas, Chairman of the Dougherty County Board of Commissioners. “This was an unbudgeted and unexpected budget allocation and we are pleased that through this grant, the County will be reimbursed for these expenses, which is a win-win for both the citizens and county government.”