COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Monday kicked off early voting in Georgia, and poll watchers from both Muscogee County political parties were prepped and ready to guard a fair election at each precinct. 

Poll workers and poll watchers are at the heart of election day. Poll workers are paid workers who open and close the polling precincts, check voters in and make sure each vote was counted. Poll watchers are volunteers who observe the polling process. Poll watchers do not intervene in the elections process, instead they are a second set of eyes to make sure it is an honest election. 

“Democracies die in the dark and if we’re not watching and we’re not interested and we’re not involved and engaged, we have no real say in what’s going on,” Dominick Edwards, Muscogee County GOP Poll Watching Coordinator, said. “So if you’re able and you have the temperament for it and interest I think poll watching is a great way to volunteer.”

There are three early voting precincts in Columbus:

-The Citizens Service Center off Macon Road

-Patrick Hall at Columbus Technical College off Manchester Expressway

-Shirley Winston Park Rec Center off Steam Mill Road

The early voting locations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. starting May 2 and ending Friday, May 20th. The advance polling places will be open every day, including weekends.

The Secretary of State provides training for poll watchers, but both Muscogee County Political Parties supplement that training. They work to personalize the training to the nuances of Columbus.

“You get an opportunity to see people who haven’t voted before,” Tonza Thomas, Chair of Muscogee County Democratic Committee, said. “Being a poll watcher just helps keep everybody honest. That’s what it is for me is to make sure everybody is as honest as they can be.”

The Muscogee County Republican Party has filled spaces for early voting already, but they are organizing poll watchers for the general election; training sessions will be on every fourth Tuesday night of the month at the Muscogee County Republican Party Headquarters. 

The Muscogee County Democratic Committee says they currently need volunteers for sign waving, which they are currently doing three times per day. They will also be accepting poll watching volunteers in the near future for general elections.

Muscogee County Republicans:

5367 B Veterans Parkway

Columbus, GA 31904

Muscogee County Democrats:

3575 Macon Road Ste. 110

Columbus, GA 31907