Fulton County voters who plan to cast their ballots early for the Sept. 17 special election will have two additional sites available to do so and five total, including the C.T. Martin Recreation Center precinct, which had originally been scheduled to be closed then.
Residents will be voting for two open seats. The first is to fill the District 6 Fulton Board of Commissioners’ seat vacated by Emma Darnell, who died in May, and the second is for the Atlanta Board of Education’s District 2 post, which was emptied in January by Byron Amos, who ran for the Atlanta City Council’s District 3 position.
“The C.T. Martin Recreation Center lies inside my district, and not having this precinct open for early voting would disenfranchise voters. I know for a fact that there are voters in District 6 that come to the C.T. Martin Recreation Center to vote, so they should be no question that the C.T. Martin precinct should be open,” District 4 Commissioner Natalie Hall said.
Hall spoke Aug. 23 at a special called meeting of the Fulton Board of Registrations and Elections, which had previously planned to have the C.T. Martin precinct closed during early voting. The board voted 3-0 to open two early voting locations for the special election: the C.T. Martin precinct, 3201 M.L. King Jr. Drive SW in Atlanta; and the East Point Library, 2757 Main St. in East Point.
The special meeting was called after Robb Pitts, the board of commissioner’s chair, contacted the director of registration and elections, Richard Barron, and the election board’s chair, Mary Carole Cooney, about the residents’ concerns over early voting access.
According to Barron, each additional early voting site will cost about $25,000. Pitts said he would work with his colleagues to support additional funding in order to facilitate this effort. According to the resolution approved, the center would be available contingent to it being ready to accept early voting, which began Aug. 26.
The two new sites will be open in addition to the three early voting locations already in place for this election: the Fairburn Library, 60 Valley View Drive in Fairburn; the Fulton County Government Center, 130 Peachtree St. in Atlanta; and the South Fulton Service Center, 5600 Stonewall Tell Road in College Park.
All five early voting locations will be open Aug. 26 through 30 and Sept. 3 through 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sept. 9 through 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. All precincts will be closed Labor Day.
Registered voters can cast their ballots at any early voting site but must vote at their assigned precinct on Election Day.