Sunday voting added to early voting plan by Cobb elections board
Following an onslaught of debate from county residents, the Cobb County Board of Elections added one day of Sunday voting to its fall early voting schedule.
Even though other metro counties have had Sunday voting in their communities for years, this marks the first time Cobb has offered its citizens this early voting option. The Board members voted 4-1 to approve the voting plan with Republican Party appointee Pat Garland opposed.
When early voting starts on October 17, Cobb will have 12 precincts open for advanced voting for three weeks, and six locations will have ballot drop boxes.
Cobb County’s voting locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the two Saturdays during three weeks of early voting. One additional precinct will also be open during the last week of early voting, and the main elections office voting location will open on Sunday, October 30 from 12-4 p.m.
Fair Fight Action, a voting rights activist organization, encouraged voters to advocate locally for a “gold standard of early vote access,” according to a statement. That “gold standard” includes two Sunday voting days, precincts open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and an increase in voting locations available for the maximum amount of days, the statement said.
However, others felt differently as they met the suggestion to add Sunday voting with strong opposition. Residents and poll workers argued at the meeting that Sunday voting is unnecessary because of the several voting options available.
Pointing to a department already understaffed, Claudia Falk, the area supervisor for the Cobb Board elections said Sunday voting will exacerbate the stress poll workers face. “I’m here to speak for the people who are in the trenches,” she said to the board. “Give us time to rebuild our employee base, our poll worker base.”
The chairwoman of the Board of Elections, Tori Silas, said that Sunday voting has been a continual consideration by the board members since she joined last summer. “At some point, when the Georgia Legislature provides these options to us, we have to explore them and see if they work for the registered voters in Cobb County,” she said.
Democratic candidates support increased voting access as a top priority, while Republican candidates support tightened election rules created by Senate Bill 202, the state’s election law which established new guidelines for absentee ballots, adjusted early voting and changed elections processes.
Chairwoman Silas points to the ongoing conversation of expanding voting access options including Sunday voting, regardless of third-party advocacy. “At some point, we didn’t have Saturday voting. At some point, we didn’t have three weeks of advanced, in-person voting,” she said. “If we don’t attempt it, we’ll never know how it works.”