The democratic process relies on us, the American people, to exercise our duty and vote. When you don’t vote, you are choosing not to have a say in how the government works for you.

Voting in Georgia is set to change soon though. State officials announced last month that the state would purchase new voting machines and that they would be implemented during the 2020 presidential primaries on March 24.

The new voting machines cost $112 million and are coming south from Canada-based Dominion Voting System. The purchase was part of an elections overhaul signed into law by new Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in April. Along with a requirement that all voting machines include a paper ballot component, the law also required local boards of elections to give the public more advance notice before moving or closing polling locations, lengthened the time it takes for an inactive voter to fall off the rolls and slackened the “exact match” voter verification rules.

So what does this mean when you walk into a polling booth on March 24, 2020? Well you get to learn a new voting machine.

Since the bill’s passage, local elections officials have laid the groundwork for a public information campaign to teach voters how to use the machines ahead of the primary. The board will continue those talks at its meeting today.

“The new machines were announced, so we know what we’re getting,” said Christina Redden, assistant elections and registration supervisor. “It’s really just talking about the new machines, and where we’re going to go from there.”

It’s important that all voters take advantage of this campaign and learn how to use them. Nobody likes being stuck in a line at the grocery store, movie theater or the ballot box. If you come in prepared to vote and know how the machine works, then it will be a quick stop not just for you, but the people behind you will be grateful.

That line could be quite a long one judging from the 2018 voter turnout, where the county saw record turnout with 60.1 percent of register voters casting a ballot. That means 32,611 voters out of 54,274 registered voters went to the polls. It is safe to say we can expect more in 2020.

So when the Glynn County Board of Elections is educating the public on how the new voting machine works, we ask that you pay attention and learn what you need to know before going to the polls next year.

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