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Mayoral complaints lead Fulton to add another early voting location

By Ben Brasch, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga (CNT)

Fulton County elections board members added a new early voting location Tuesday following complaints from mayors in the southern part of the county.

The Palmetto Library will be a precinct for the last two weeks of early voting. The other 30 early voting sites were finalized a couple weeks ago and are set to open Monday.

Other than the small Southside cities of Palmetto and Chattahoochee Hills, basically every other city in Fulton has its own early voting place — which long-time Palmetto Mayor J. Clark Boddie noted Friday.

Most of Fulton’s mayors gathered Friday for a virtual meeting with Fulton County officials. The meeting was part of the cities and the county rebuilding their relationship after a contentious fight over Fulton’s $104 million in federal COVID-19 aid.

The original plan for Palmetto was to have Fulton’s new mobile voting vehicle stationed there four days, said Fulton elections head Richard Barron. But Boddie said that wasn’t fair, plus people will expect the library to be open.

“A lot of them probably won’t vote just to be honest with you,” he said Friday.

Other mayors came to his aid.

“A big old site in College Park does not make up for no sites in Palmetto and Chatt Hills,” said College Park Mayor Bianca Motley Broom of the mega-site at the Georgia International Convention Center.

Barron said Tuesday that the Palmetto Library is usually the site with the lowest turnout. He said there are 5,200 registered voters between Palmetto and Chattahoochee Hills.

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Elections staff will now need to scramble to bring the library online, which is why it won’t open until the second week. Barron said this move will also put all their back-up laptops in the field.

Boddie hadn’t heard the news when reached Tuesday. He said he was happy and thankful, but still concerned about the missing week.

“There’s no doubt that people will start going to the library,” he said.