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Lawyers question last-minute addition of polling places in South DeKalb

campaign coverage Metro ATL

Lawyers question last-minute addition of polling places in South DeKalb

Amy Herr holds a sign during a ‘Get out the Vote’ rally hosted by the Avondale Alliance for Racial Justice at the ArtLot in Avondale Estates on September 19, 2020. Photo by Dean Hesse.
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By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor 

DeKalb County, GA — DeKalb County’s attorneys are researching the legality of making an emergency change to two polling places so close to the Nov. 3 election.

Elections director Erica Hamilton proposed changing polls at Fire Station 4 on Flakes Mill Road to County Line-Ellenwood DeKalb Public Library, and from Stonecrest Library to the former Sears department store at Stonecrest Mall.

Before the Board of Voter Registration and Elections could vote, county attorney Viviane Ernstes advised deferring a vote until next week, citing Georgia code 21-2-265(f).

The reason for the deferral, she said, is because “a change on an emergency polling place must be advertised in your legal organ unless that change occurs 10 days prior to the election.”

COVID-19 safety protocols are the reason DeKalb County has 19 emergency polling locations out of 30. Some former locations are too cramped to allow for proper distancing, and could create long lines like voters experienced in June.

Board member Dele Lowman Smith earlier this week pushed for additional early voting locations in the southern part of DeKalb.

In other DeKalb County elections news:

– Chief Jack Lumpkin, DeKalb County’s head of public safety, said early voting locations and election day polls will be protected under an emergency management system.

– Chris Harvey, elections director for the State of Georgia, plans to attend the DeKalb elections board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 14, along with a representative of Dominion Voting Systems, to discuss recent news about software updates to the voting machines.

– Three Memorial Drive drop boxes are being emptied multiple times a day, with continuous lines of traffic from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., said elections board chair Sam Tillman.

– A revamped website for DeKalb voters, www.DeKalbVotes.com, launched today.

 

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