Less than one month away from the national election, Appling County is preparing to vote. Shonda Carter, Registrar, and her staff are busy every minute, especially after their recent move. They are now located behind the library in the building vacated by the 4-H Office. Look for the sign at 83 South Oak Street. They are preparing the new voting machines—the county now has a total of 56. Carter is also ready with poll workers. Absentee ballots are rolling in every day.

When absentee ballots arrive in the mail, they pull the signature card from their files, check it with the one on the ballot to make sure they match, and then log in to the state system and enter the name. Afterwards, they lock it into a cabinet. These ballots cannot be touched again until Carter and her staff start counting them at 7 p.m. on November 3. She and her staff of seven people, two of whom are appointed by the Superior Court Judge, do the counting. The judge appoints one person from the Republican Party and one from the Democratic Party.

“I think the counting and voting should run smoothly here in Appling County,” Carter said. “I’m sure we’ll be counting until the wee hours though. We won’t be through by midnight.”

The ballot will be in The Baxley New-Banner for those people who’d like to peruse it before actually voting. Also, they are doing everything they can to avoid the virus. The staff will wear masks and ask the voters to as well. They will wipe down the machines after each person and encourage social distancing.

Early voting will start on Oct. 12 and will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office does not close for lunch. It will be open on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The last day for early voting will be Oct. 30. Carter recommends that those who vote in person vote early to avoid lines on election day. Those who intend to vote with absentee ballots should mail them immediately if they haven’t already.