When Charlie Collicutt became the director of the Guilford County Board of Elections, there was no way he could know what he was getting into – namely, that he’d need to hold elections in the middle of a pandemic and also at a time when a large number of people wouldn’t trust the outcomes.
But Collicutt, like his election staff, has been adjusting to the times, and Collicutt said the preparations for the November 2022 election are going well.
Collicutt said that, when voters show up to cast ballots this year, there will still be some obvious signs of the remains of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on voting practices, but it won’t be the full-fledged apocalyptic sci-fi movie scene it resembled in 2020.
“Voters will still see some plastic barriers and we’re still going to space things out,” Collicutt said.
While poll workers will be wearing masks, there will be no mandatory six-foot distance rule that people had become so accustomed to over the past two and a half years.
He said there will also be a lot of cleaning and disinfecting going on throughout the voting process.
Unlike primary elections, which usually see a small percentage of voters come out to the polls – making things easier on election workers – mid-term election and the presidential election years, these days, have better turn out.
In some parts of the country, political groups have been conducting major challenges as to who should and should not be included on the voter rolls in the November election. Collicutt said that hadn’t been a big issue in Guilford County, but he added that there had been requests to examine records, ballots and audits from the 2020 election.
The Guilford County Elections Department is no stranger to adjusting with the times. In recent years, it has had to deal with strange scenarios such as last-minute redistricting and going about a year without a Guilford County Board of Elections.
Fortunately, the county’s elections department is one of the most efficient and effective departments in Guilford County government. It has proven deft at adjusting on the fly and, if people call in with questions, a knowledgeable election worker almost always picks up the phone in the first few rings and can help the voter with their questions and needs. It’s also one of the only county departments where the lights will be on and workers can be seen working well into the evening, whether it’s peak election time or not.