Fulton County Launches Massive Early Voting Campaign

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Georgia’s most populous county has launched a massive early voting effort, hoping to get hundreds of thousands of voters to vote by mail and in person by the end of October.

At a press conference on Thursday, officials also unveiled one of two mobile voting buses that will appear in multiple locations across the 70-mile-long county and can seat up to eight voters at a time. The county also unveiled a new voting app with information about early voting and drop boxes, as well as a new advertising campaign designed to encourage residents to vote early.

Fulton Chief Electoral Officer Rick Barron said the goal is to have a large majority of the vote this fall before election day.

“Our goal is to get 80% of voters to use absenteeism by mail and early voting so that polling day goes smoothly,” he said.

After several high-profile issues at various polling stations in Fulton during the June 9 primary, the county took a number of steps to improve the voting experience for November, including training and retraining thousands of attendants. the ballot, the installation of technicians at each polling site and the new mobile voting buses that can help reduce queues.

RELATED: Fulton County Announces New Early Voting Sites, Adds More Polls on Election Day

There will be 30 early voting sites, including the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park and the Benson Senior Center which will each have 50 voting machines, and State Farm Arena, which will have 300 machines during the 19-day advance voting period that begins October 12.

County Director Dick Anderson said the election budget had doubled to $ 34 million for 2020 to keep things running smoothly.

“I hope what you can see here is that we are well prepared,” he said. “We have done detailed planning at the site level, and I think citizens should know that we took every lesson from June and that we generally have triple redundancy against all the failing spots that we have seen.”

One of the obstacles in primary was the shortage of trained voting officers, who are typically older and more vulnerable to the coronavirus. Since then, more than 6,500 people have applied to become election officers, and around 3,000 will work on election day.

Another problem was the shortage of polling stations that closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, which led to more voters being assigned to fewer locations.

Fulton added 91 new locations for November 3, up more than 50% from the main one.

“We have 255 locations, up from 164 in June and 147 in August,” Barron said. “At the start of the year our goal was 210-220, but thanks to a private partnership and the hard work of my team, we were able to reach it at 255.”

This means that some residents will now vote on Election Day at the Fox Theater, Ponce City Market or Dad’s Garage and vote early at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion or the High Museum of Art, among others. Officials say that should mean fewer problems or delays.

“You’re going to see a lot fewer people affected at each location, which will reduce the lines – and especially if we hit that 80% early voting target,” Barron said. “The goal was to get as many polling stations as possible with fewer than 5,000 voters affected.”

All voters (not just in Fulton County!) Should check their My voter page to see if their polling stations are amended, check their registration on the electoral rolls and check the status of their postal ballot if they have requested it.

Subscribe to GPB’s new podcast “Battleground: Ballot Box” for more information on voting in Georgia.

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