For the second time in a year, some Paulding County voters will be assigned to new Election Day polling places.
However, officials say they are making changes to the voting locations to make available facilities more accessible to the higher than normal number of voters expected during a presidential election year.
“We are adding a total of two new polling locations and changing some voters to polling locations that are spacious enough to handle the volume of voter that we will see in 2020,” said county Elections Supervisor Deidre Holden.
“We are attempting to make Election Day voting less stressful for the voters by decreasing the sizes of the existing polling locations due to the facilities that we are using.”
The county board of elections recently voted to add three new locations to its list of 2020 precincts but will not use another that was used as a polling place during a countywide election in November, Holden said.
A total of 19 voting precincts will be available in 2020 after the elections board Dec. 18 added Taylor Farm Park and Dobbins Middle School in southeast Paulding; and Pickett’s Mill Baptist Church on Hiram-Acworth Highway in the northeast part of the county.
It will not use Church at the Ridge in Hiram which was a voting location Nov. 5, Holden said.
She said she hoped her office would be able to notify voters of their new Election Day voting locations by the end of January.
Changes included decreasing the number of voters assigned to the Crossroads Library precinct and adding Pickett’s Mill Baptist Church as a new precinct in northeast Paulding, she said.
The Crossroads precinct was reduced because that voting location “is a small room that will not be able to contain all of the voting machines that we will be required to provide, much less the parking,” Holden said.
The board also added a new voting site, Dobbins Middle School, and a former voting site at Taylor Farm Park to its Election Day list.
Use of both southeast Paulding locations allows the board to use a meeting room at Taylor Farm Park rather than its larger gym because it will not need to accommodate as many voters as in 2018.
It also reduced the number of voters assigned to a cramped facility at Beulahland Baptist Church in west Paulding “and moved those voters to the Paulding County Airport which provides more parking and space,” Holden said.
The Church at the Ridge in Hiram was a “great location” but was removed from the list because there was “not enough parking for the number of voters” assigned to it, Holden said.
Paulding’s elections board used 30 voting precincts in 2008 but only 12 to 14 Election Day locations for more than a decade afterward, according to Georgia Secretary of State records.
It then increased the number to 17 locations — including five new locations which replaced schools — for the Nov. 5 countywide referendum on renewing a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for education.
However, Paulding County Democratic Party leaders complained about the removal of Taylor Farm Park and Hiram High School as 2019 voting locations after both had heavier Democratic turnout numbers than other county precincts in the hotly contested 2018 governor’s election.
The 2020 voting location changes likely will not have as much of an impact as they would in past decades.
More than half of Paulding voters have routinely cast ballots in recent years at satellite voting locations during the three-week advance voting period before Election Day.
Early voting was offered during the 2019 election at Burnt Hickory Park and the Watson Government Building, both in Dallas; and the Events Place and the Dianne Wright Innovation Center, both in Hiram.