Politics

Elections officials urge voters to double-check polling locations because many have changed

Elections officials in Georgia’s largest county are urging voters to confirm their polling locations on the state’s My Voter Page.

State elections officials have emphasized that absentee, early and Election Day voting are all safe and secure.

But Fulton County’s top elections official urged voters who plan to cast their ballots on Nov. 3 to confirm their polling locations ahead of time.

[READ MORE: Fact vs. Fiction: 8 things Georgians should know about early voting]

“Know before you go,” said Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron on an October 22 news conference call. “That is my biggest concern, is voters going to the correct polling location.”

During the June primary, thousands of Georgia voters waited in hours-long lines to vote after COVID-19 forced the last-minute closing of many voting locations.

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Fulton County responded by adding new precincts ahead of Tuesday’s election. More than one-third of Fulton voters have a new polling location.

“We added 91 locations compared to the June election, and that was done in order to reduce the number of voters assigned to polling locations,” said Barron. “Almost all of our polling sites have less than 5,000 voters assigned to them right now.”

Barron said his office mailed precinct cards to impacted voters, as well as an informational mailer to remind voters of changes.

Fulton County voter Karen Smiley, who plans to vote on Election Day, told Gray that she and her neighbors never received precinct cards.

She said she happened to look online and noticed that her Sandy Springs polling location had changed. She worried what would have happened if she had not checked.

“It could have been very problematic for me, because I very well could have waited until the end of the day, and then had to figure it out and just miss my opportunity,” she said. “Nobody wants that. We all want our say in the political process.”

Voters who show up to the wrong location can cast a provisional ballot. However, provisional ballots increase wait times for other voters and take three times as long to process as a regular ballot, according to Barron.

“I think if you rely on it being in the same spot it was last year, you might have a very unfortunate experience come voting day,” said Smiley.

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