Berkeley County poll manager shares concerns about the upcoming primary and the coronavirus

Your Local Election HQ

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – June primaries are scheduled for June 9th, and that brings many concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

Specifically, those who work elections say they’re concerned about holding in-person elections during the pandemic.

“I’ve been working the polls since I would say the first Clinton election- I think that was 1992,” said Angela Simmons.

Simmons is a poll manager for the Sangaree 3 precinct, which votes at Sangaree Elementary School.

“Working on election day, it just seems like one of those things that I just enjoy doing. And this upcoming election is giving me some concerns,” she said.

She is not confident that workers and voters can be adequately protected.

“Number one, the safety of the people there. Being there and having worked there for more than 25 years, I know many of my people in my precinct and we’re kind of like a family – we’re like a well-oiled machine in my precinct.”

The age of the poll workers is also a concern.

“Right now, I’ve had many of my workers who usually work with me have already said they’re not gonna work this coming election because they are in that age group of susceptibility,” said Simmons.

We took those concerns to Berkeley County’s director of elections, Adam Hammons.

Hammons said he shares the same concerns.

For Simmons, she says she would like to see a write-in only ballot, with in person options for those who need that at the Berkeley County Election office in Moncks Corner.

“The governor or the legislature would have to make that change,” said Hammons. “We’re not able to make that on the local level or even the state election.”

Hammons agrees that a write in option would be best.

“We as a state organization, the state organization of election officials, we sent a letter to the governor and to the General Assembly kind of urging that vote by mail. We feel like that’s the safest way to handle this election.”

Simmons says she does not believe people will follow best practices on Election Day.

“I know what we’re supposed to do and the social distancing and wearing the mask, but I have not seen that done in a lot of places,” she said.

Absentee voting begins May 11, the actual primary itself takes place June 9.

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