The Pulaski County Commissioners have taken steps to ensure Election Day activities continue in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
A memorandum of understanding was proposed by the County’s Election Board between their responsibilities and the Sheriff’s Department and Emergency Management Agency. The idea is to ensure voting operations continue in the event of a strong weather event, unexpected power loss, or other event causing voting difficulties.
Election Board member Laura Bailey says the documents are an expansion of Pulaski County’s “Vote Center” plan approved by the state.
“We realize that and wanted to get it firmed up on paper and then we will submit this as the first addendum to our vote center plan,” says Bailey. “These plans are every growing documents.”
Providing emergency back-up plans attempts to think about non-functioning machines on Election Day, internet outages, and other inconveniences that can be managed.
Those plans were discussed in committee previously, but required Commissioner approval to finalize prior to submission to the state. The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department is able to provide generators to maintain power at certain polling places. Two towns in Pulaski County will also provide generators at their voting locations if needed.
A global event would likely cancel voting, according to the Election Board. Bailey says despite their plans for emergency back-up, absentee voting is proceeding smoothly under the vote center model.
“I think people had been a little nervous when they walked in and then they realize it’s so simple, that it goes so quickly, that it’s not scary at all,” says Bailey.
The Commissioners approved the plan unanimously.
Resources will now be assembled heading into the May 3rd Primary Election where the vote center model will be in effect. The plan will be used again during November’s General Election.