Politics

Athens Officials To Discuss On-Campus Early Voting Site After UGA Reconsiders

The deadline to register to vote is Monday, Oct. 5.
The deadline to register to vote is Monday, Oct. 5.
Credit Emil Moffatt / WABE
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The Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections has scheduled a specially called meeting for Friday afternoon to discuss having an early voting site on the University of Georgia campus.

Board chairman Jesse Evans confirmed the meeting Thursday morning.

“There’s going to be some coordination between the board of elections staff and UGA personnel to figure out the details of it, and tomorrow’s meeting we’ll have a lot more detail about what we’re able to do,” said Evans.

The county had originally planned on setting up early voting locations at the university’s Tate Center and Stegeman Coliseum. But earlier this week, the university announced its decision to decline to participate, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing.

Shortly after UGA announced the decision on Twitter, many alumni and Georgia voting rights advocates criticized the decision, citing the university’s willingness to hold in-person instruction and on-campus football games.

UGA then sent a message saying it would consider using the Coliseum as an early voting site in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 3 elections.

Currently, early voting in Athens-Clarke County will take place beginning Oct. 12 at the Board of Elections office. A handful of locations will be added beginning the weekend of Oct. 24-25 and staying open through the end of advanced voting, Oct. 30.

Evans says adding an early voting site on the UGA campus with its large population of students faculty and staff as “incredibly important.”

“We do our best to maximize the franchise and provide as many voting opportunities as possible,” said Evans of the early voting sites, while also touting vote-by-mail.  “We have absentee ballot drop boxes throughout the community and we’re sending out absentee ballot applications to all of our registered voters in Clarke County.”

Evans says he expects those applications to be mailed out next week.

Friday’s specially called board meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. eastern time and will be held virtually.

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