The first two weeks of early voting for city elections have come to a close in Cobb County, and so far, voting has been light, according to Cobb County elections officials.
Municipal elections will be held in five of Cobb’s six cities — Acworth, Austell, Kennesaw, Powder Springs and Smyrna — on Nov. 5.
The Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration will host municipal voting for all cities except Acworth, which will host its own elections.
Marietta will not host elections this year. The city’s mayor, council members and school board members were all on the ballot in 2017 and elected to four-year terms.
Through the first seven days of early voting, only 94 voters cast ballots in person and 21 ballots had been mailed in, the Cobb elections office reported. Early voting numbers are typically low when voters are limited only to the main Cobb elections office at 736 Whitlock Ave. in Marietta, according to Janine Eveler, director of Cobb County Elections & Registration.
Voter turnout is expected to pick up on Monday, when available early voting locations go from one to five, Eveler said.
In Acworth, 100 votes have been cast in person through the first seven days, and two ballots have been mailed in, according to City Clerk Regina Russell.
If you’re headed to the polls this week, here’s some information you need to know:
Where and when can I vote?
Voters in Austell, Kennesaw, Powder Springs and Smyrna can still vote early this Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at one of four locations around the county, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cobb elections office.
The other four locations are:
♦ Austell Community Center (Collar Park): 2625 Joe Jerkins Boulevard, Austell;
♦ Ben Robertson Community Center: 2753 Watts Drive, Kennesaw;
♦ Powder Springs Community Development Building: 4488 Pineview Drive, Powder Springs; and
♦ Smyrna Community Center: 200 Village Green Circle, Smyrna.
Voters from any city, except Acworth, can vote at any of the above locations, Eveler said. Voters must vote at their designated voting precinct on Election Day. To find your precinct location, visit www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do.
For advanced voting in Acworth, voters should report to the city hall board room at 4415 Senator Russell Ave., Acworth, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Russell said. On Election Day, Acworth voters should report to Roberts School, 4681 School St., Acworth from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
No advanced voting will be held on Monday, Nov. 4. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
What do I need when I get there?
Every voter will need to show proper identification to a poll worker at or prior to voting at any polling place, according to the Cobb elections office.
Proper identification can be any of the following:
♦ A valid Georgia driver’s license;
♦ A valid photo identification card issued by a branch, department, agency of Georgia, any other state, or the United States authorized by law to issue personal identification;
♦ A valid United States passport;
♦ A valid photo employee identification card issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of any state, the United States government or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of Georgia;
♦ A valid United States military identification card with photo of the voter; or
♦ A valid tribal identification card with a photo of the voter.
If you do not have one of the six acceptable forms of photo identification, the state of Georgia offers a free Voter Identification Card, which can be issued at any county registrar’s office or Department of Driver Services Office for free.
Will I be using the state’s new voting machines?
While most voters will use paper ballots in this year’s elections, some voters will use one of the state’s 30,000 new voting machines, according to Cobb elections officials.
The machines Cobb has used until now have been deactivated and are being replaced following controversy over the security of the 17-year-old paperless touchscreen system.
The new voting system allows voters to make their selections on a more modern touchscreen device and prints a reviewable sheet of paper with a bar code and names of selected candidates that is fed into a scanner for tallying, Eveler said. But the new system won’t be fully implemented until the March presidential primaries.
For now, the county will set up one new machine at each of the polling locations in Cobb — five early and advanced voting locations and 16 Election Day precinct locations.
These 21 machines, which look like giant tablets, will be used by disabled voters only, while the rest of the county’s voters pilot a hand-marked paper ballot system, she said. The hand-marked paper ballot system is being piloted as a fail safe in case the new system is not implemented by March 2020.
Eveler said Cobb volunteered for the pilot program after a judge ordered paper ballots tested ahead of the new machines’ implementation across the state.
Cobb voters using paper ballots this November will color in bubbles next to the candidate they wish to vote for and then feed their ballot into a scanner for tallying, Eveler said.
She said the state is sponsoring the pilot project at no cost to the county or Cobb cities.
For the March election, Eveler said the county will have around 2,100 of the new machines ready to go.
Acworth, managing its own municipal elections this year, will be using its existing paper ballot system, according to Russell.