Agnes Scott College serves as early voting site for Decatur communityVoters cast their ballots at the Mary Brown Bullock Science Center at Agnes Scott College in Decatur on October 29. The college is serving as an advance voting location for the first time this year while conducting classes remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Alex Brown
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Decatur, GA — Although Agnes Scott College is offering classes virtually this semester, the women’s college is helping out the local community by serving as an advance voting location.
The Mary Brown Bullock Science Center has acted as an early in-person voting location from October 12 through tomorrow, October 30. For more information about early voting, click here.
Demetrice Williams, the Senior Director for Special Events and Community Relations, said that the Dekalb County Elections team was excited about working with the college to make early in-person voting accessible to the Decatur community. By the end of the early voting period, they estimate that about 20,000 people will have voted at the college.
This is the first time that Agnes Scott College has served as a polling location, but Williams noted that doing so aligns with the college’s mission statement which encourages students to “think deeply, live honorably, and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times.”
Senior leadership unanimously supported having the college serve as an advance voting location, said Danita Knight, Vice President of Communications and Marketing.
While lines were initially long on the first day of early voting, poll workers, voters, and staff persevered, and early voting is now a smoother process.
Tiffani Gilbert, Elections Supervisor for DeKalb County, said, “We’re very excited and happy to have the large turnout. As of right now, we have 162,000 advance voters in the county.”
DeKalb County has also received 106,000 absentee ballots and counting. Overall, 269,000 people have voted so far in DeKalb County, according to Gilbert.
Voters who live in Decatur or near the Agnes Scott campus said they were excited to have an early voting location within walking distance.
“It’s been a great service to the seniors in the community who are often nervous about going out. We’ve seen a lot of traffic from them and a lot of thanks from them,” said Williams. She noted that a 102-year-old woman had recently voted in the Science Center.
Gilbert said she was glad that the staff from the elections board was able to help voters avoid misinformation about voting, and educate the voters in an uncertain time.
Many first-time voters are those who are just entering college. For politically-involved college students, the lead-up to a presidential election is usually punctuated by in-person events like get-out-the-vote efforts and debate watch parties. But during the pandemic, the election has largely been an isolated event.
Olivia Begalla, an 18-year-old first-year student at Agnes Scott, voted in Florida via absentee ballot.
Although she also voted in the primaries, this is her first time voting in a general election. She says that Agnes Scott serving as an advance voting location is “really cool.”
“The school has definitely shown how much it wants its students to vote,” said Begalla. “We got care packages [in the mail] with info on how to register to vote and how to vote. It’s been an isolating experience doing things online, but you do what you can over the internet.”
If you’re still hoping to early vote in-person at Agnes Scott College or elsewhere, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on October 30, the last day of early in-person voting. View all of Decaturish’s election coverage here.
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