|Early voters in DeKalb, Rockdale trot to the polls|
|Written by Valerie J. Morgan and Joshua Smith|
Elections supervisors in DeKalb and Rockdale counties say turnout for advance voting has gotten off to a good start, namely, they believe because of the special questions on the ballots.
Between the two neighboring counties, a total of 707 people cast ballots on July 9, the first day of the early voting period for the General Primary.
Elections supervisors say the good numbers come even though the early voting period across the state was slashed from 45 days to 16.
“We didn’t know what to expect with there being a shorter window for people to get out and vote early,” said Cynthia Welch, who oversees Rockdale County’s Board of Elections/Voter Registration Office.
Poll watchers say people typically procrastinate and wait until the last minute, jeopardizing their opportunity to vote early.
But with the push from civic groups, the Democratic and Republican Parties, people are going to the polls.
Welch says she believes the T-SPLOST referendum to add a penny sales tax for transportation projects in the 10-county Atlanta region may be the catalyst for those who are voting early this election season in Rockdale.
“People want to voice their opinion on T-SPLOST. They are really concerned about the referendum,” said Welch. “You usually see about 20 percent of registered voters participate in the Primary, but we are expecting 30 percent because of the transportation issue.”
Maxine Daniels, director of DeKalb’s Voter Registration & Elections Board, said she believes DeKalb is on tract to exceed the 2008 voter turnout, when the last Presidential Election was held.
Daniels credits not only T-SPLOST for this year’s turnout, but also the hotly-contested School Board races, DeKalb County Board of Commissioners races and the DeKalb CEO race.
“DeKalb County voters always like to come in person and vote early when we have contested races like these,” said Daniels. “We’re doing our best to spread the word that the early voting period is shorter than usual. On Common Ground News has helped a lot in getting the word out.” Early voting ends on July 27. Hours vary by county. Here is a look at the sites and times for DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Rockdale counties:
In DeKalb County, voters can cast their ballots at the main Board of Elections Office, 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300, Decatur, 30032, July 9-27, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The office also will be open on Saturdays, July 14 and July 21.
A special express lane designed for the elderly and disabled will be operating at DeKalb’s main Elections Office on Memorial Drive to assist those who need it.
Of DeKalb County’s 457, 607 registered voters, 473 came out on July 9, the first day of Early Voting.
Additional sites for early voting will become open in DeKalb July 23-27, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.:
Downtown Decatur - Clark Harrison Building 330 W. Ponce de Leon, Room A, Decatur
South DeKalb - Community Achievement Center, Inc. 4522 Flat Shoals Parkway Decatur
North DeKalb - Chamblee City Hall 5468 Peachtree Road, Chamblee
East DeKalb - New Bethel AME 8350 Rockbridge Road, Lithonia
Tucker Recreation Center,
For more information, DeKalb voters may visit: www.dekalbvotes.com under “Current Election Information” or call 404-298-4020.
Fulton County is offering early voting Monday-Friday, through July 27, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the following locations:
Fulton County Government Center, 130 Peachtree Street, Suite 2186, Atlanta, 30303
North Fulton Service Center,
South Fulton Service Center,
Saturday voting will be offered on July 21, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the three Fulton precincts.
Gwinnett County is offering early voting July 9-27, Monday—Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., at the Board of Elections Office, located at 455 Grayson Highway, Lawrenceville.
The mailing address for absentee ballots is:
For more information, visit www.gwinnettelections.com.
In Rockdale County, where there are 48,451 registered voters, 234 cast their ballots on July 9.
In Rockdale, voters may vote early in person or mail their ballots to the Board of Elections / Voter Registration, 1400 Parker Road, Lobby C, Conyers, 30094.
For more information, call 770-278-7333.