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Slow stream of voters visit polls in Decatur Recreation Center

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Slow stream of voters visit polls in Decatur Recreation Center

Brian Stubbs holds the door for Michelle Li as they enter the Decatur Recreation Center to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 2, Election Day. Photo by Dean Hesse.

By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor 

Decatur, GA — It was quiet in Decatur Square on Nov. 2, Election Day, as voters trickled into the Decatur Recreation Center polling location. A few commented that they’d tried to vote at a nearby church, but eventually made their way to the rec center.

One Decatur resident said he typically votes at First Baptist Church of Decatur, and was confused when he arrived there. DeKalb County Elections previously changed First Baptist polling location, but so many voters used an absentee ballot in 2020 that it’s been a while since they voted in person.

“I know it’s not, but it almost seems like it’s designed make [voting] difficult,” said the voter, who declined to give his name. “I pulled up there and it was difficult to figure out because there were no signs.”

A voter shows their sticker and stylus after casting a ballot at the Decatur Recreation Center on Tuesday, Nov. 2, Election Day. Photo by Dean Hesse.

By the time the Secretary of State’s website finally loaded, he said he was already at Decatur Recreation Center.

Why vote in person instead of by absentee ballot or early voting?

“I waited too late to be clued in to what’s going on, and I hadn’t thought much about it ahead of time,” he said. “I did some research yesterday and talked to some neighbors who have connections with the candidates.”

Voters Tiffany and Eric Fessler at the Decatur Recreation Center on Tuesday, Nov. 2, Election Day. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Poll manager Gayle Lee said she’s been working at Decatur Recreation Center for at least 14 years. Municipal elections are notoriously slow but steady, she said.

One couple who works from home came after their son left for school. Their experience at the polls today was easy, spaced out and not crowded.

“I always vote for education,” said Tiffany Fessler. “We have a son who just started at Renfroe Middle School. It’s important, and that’s why I’m here [in Decatur] and paying the taxes I am paying. I’m not going to take that away from someone else.”

Voter Chris Scharer with his son Abbott at the Decatur Recreation Center on Tuesday, Nov. 2, Election Day. Photo by Dean Hesse.

“We’re not even spending on education what we need to be spending on education,” said her husband, Eric Fessler, who is a former teacher.

DeKalb County polls will be open until 7 p.m., except in the city of Atlanta where they close at 8 p.m. For information about voting today, call the DeKalb County Elections Office at 404-298-4020.

More information about today’s election:

Signage in front of the Decatur Recreation Center directs voters on Tuesday, Nov. 2, Election Day. Photo by Dean Hesse.

City elections are today, Nov. 2.

There will be elections in Decatur, Avondale Estates and in the city of Atlanta. County residents can vote on extending the Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.  Polls will be open at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m.

Decaturish will be bringing you election results after the polls close.

Editor’s note: Decaturish and the Tucker Observer have published an Elections Guide, a 76-page e-edition featuring Q&As with nearly every candidate running in our communities. To see it, click here. This special e-edition features candidates running for public office in Decatur, Avondale Estates, Atlanta City Council District 5, Clarkston Tucker and Stone Mountain.  There is a PDF version of this, which you can see by clicking here, but due to the format of this e-edition, we strongly encourage you to use the e-reader version.

All election coverage can be found at Decaturishvotes.com and Tuckerobservervotes.com.  

Election Day is Nov. 2. Early voting will begin on Oct. 12 and will end on Oct. 29. The voter registration deadline was Oct. 4. To register to vote, click here.

To find your polling location, visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter page by clicking here.

You have to be 18 and registered to vote to cast your ballot in the Nov. 2 elections.

You will need to bring one of the following forms of identification, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office:

– Any valid state or federal government-issued photo ID, including a free ID Card issued by your county registrar’s office or the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS)

– A Georgia Driver’s License, even if expired

– Valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state

– Valid U.S. passport ID

– Valid U.S. military photo ID

– Valid tribal photo ID

The polls offer audio ballots for voters who are blind or have low vision and booths for voters in wheelchairs. If you need help with your ballot, you can ask a family member or friend to come with you to the polls and fill the ballot in with your choices.

DeKalb County has released a list of 10 things voters need to know before voting on Nov. 2. Here’s more information from DeKalb County:

DeKalb County voters are encouraged to familiarize themselves with their voting options as the Nov. 2 General/Special Municipal Election approaches.

Here are 10 important reminders:

1. Before heading to the polls on Election Day, voters are encouraged to verify their precinct location at DeKalbVotes.com. There were six precinct changes this year:

Previous Polling Location New Polling Location
Chamblee Civic Center

3540 Broad Street

Chamblee 30341

Chamblee Public Safety/Municipal Court

4445 Buford Highway NE

Chamblee 30341

Doraville City Hall

3725 Park Avenue

Doraville 30340

Doraville Civic Center

377- Central Ave.

Doraville 30340

Rock of Ages Lutheran Church

5135 Memorial Drive

Stone Mountain 30083

Georgia Piedmont Technical College-Clarkston

495 N. Indian Creek Drive

Clarkston 30021

City of Stonecrest Annex

(Sears Building-Stonecrest Mall)

2929 Turner Hill Road

Stonecrest 30038

Stonecrest Library

3123 Klondike Road

Stonecrest 30038

Victory Church

1170 North Hairston Road

Stone Mountain 30083

Stone Mill Elementary School

4900 Sheila Lane

Stone Mountain 30083

Ray of Hope Christian Church

2778 Snapfinger Road

Decatur 30034

Ray of Hope Christian Education Building

2767 Snapfinger Road

Decatur 30034

2. DeKalb County residents who reside within the boundaries of the City of Atlanta are urged to cast their ballots by 7 p.m. on Election Day to avoid voting by provisional ballot. In DeKalb, the November 2, 2021, polling hours are 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Precincts within Atlanta-DeKalb will officially close at 8 p.m. on Election Day. Therefore, the 13 Atlanta-DeKalb polling locations listed below will require voters who arrive after 7 p.m. on November 2 to cast a provisional ballot as opposed to voting on a touchscreen ballot machine.

The following are the Atlanta-DeKalb Precinct Names/Polling Places:

– BB/Boulevard: Israel Baptist Church, 2071 Hosea L. Williams Drive SE, Atlanta, GA 30317

– BC/Briar Vista Elem: Briar Vista Elementary School, 1131 Briar Vista Terrace NE Atlanta, GA 30324 (two polling locations)

– JA/Johnson Estates: Briar Vista Elementary School, 1131 Briar Vista Terrance NE Atlanta, GA 30324 (two polling locations)

– BR/Burgess Elem:  Hugh Otis Burgess Elem. School, 480 Clifton Street SE, Atlanta, GA 30316

– CX/Candler Park: Neighborhood Church, 1561 McLendon Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30307 (two polling locations)

– LE/Lin-Mary Lin: Neighborhood Church, 1561 McLendon Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30307 (two polling locations)

– CN/Coan Recreation: Coan Park Recreation Center, 1530 Woodbine Ave., Atlanta, GA 30317

– DH/Druid Hills High: Druid Hills High School, 1798 Haygood Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

– EA/East Lake: St. Philip AME Church, 240 Candler Road SE, Gymnasium B, Atlanta, GA 30317

– ER/Emory Road: Emory Presbyterian Church, 1886 North Decatur Road, NE Atlanta, GA 30317

– EG/Emory South: Atlanta Metropolitan Church, 999 Briarcliff Road, Atlanta, GA 30306

– MT/Metropolitan: First Iconium Baptist Church, 542 Moreland Avenue SE, Atlanta, GA 30316

– SE/Silver Lake: Ashford Park Elem., 2968 Cravenridge Drive NE, Brookhaven, GA 30319

3. Please note that all absentee ballots for DeKalb County voters must be received by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021 in order to be counted.

4. Drop boxes are no longer available, and it’s too late to mail a completed absentee ballot. Absentee ballots must be hand-delivered to the DeKalb Voter and Registrations office, located at 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300 in Decatur.

5. Reminder: If you are a voter with a physical disability or are 75 years of age and older, you do not need to wait in line. Just walk to the entrance and a poll worker will assist you in casting your ballot.

6. Voters are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the changes in voting laws as a result of SB202. Please read the SB202 FAQ: dekalbcountyga.gov/voter-registration-elections/faqs-and-key-dates.

7. For voters who plan on voting in-person on Election Day, masks and social distancing are strongly encouraged. All poll workers will be wearing face coverings, and machines/equipment will be sanitized frequently.

8. DeKalb County is pleased to offer voter materials in both Spanish and Korean. Click here to view a composite ballot and other materials: dekalbcountyga.gov/voter-registration-elections/current-election-information.

9. Elections results will be posted on DeKalbVotes.com as they are counted.

10. For any additional questions or for anyone to experiences a challenge while trying to vote, please call 404-298-4020.

“We’ve experienced a seamless advance voting period and are expecting the same for Election Day,” said Twyla Hart, interim director of DeKalb VRE. “We encourage all voters to exercise their constitutional right and make their vote count.”

For more information on DeKalb VRE, please visit www.DeKalbVotes.com.

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