Now, the city is opening a 32,000-square-foot exhibition hall for voters, said GICC executive director Mercedes Miller. With 90,000-square-feet of hallway, voters can socially distance inside.
“Everything can’t be about making money, it’s about helping the community,” she said.
Kristie Swink Benson, director of communications for the High, said voters can fulfill their civic duties in the 1,900-square-foot lobby of the Anne Cox Chambers Wing, which is currently empty. She said High director Rand Suffolk reached out to the county with the idea a month ago.
These big spaces — the GICC will hold 50 machines — will hopefully make a difference compared to the June election, which started with five early voting locations.
The problems in June came fast and for lots of reasons, but staff quickly added a few more locations. Many polling places and poll-workers dropped out at the last minute for fear of the coronavirus. The obstacles of an absentee-by-mail backlog and under-trained staff using new pieces of equipment were too great.
Some voters on June 9 spent six hours in lines, and others never got their mail-in ballots.
In June, there were 164 election day sites. Board members on Monday approved 251 polling places.
Government buildings, churches and schools can usually handle the influx of voters. But this time, places like Dad’s Garage Theatre have raised their hands to host voters because turnout is expected to be so high. Fulton was able to woo many locations by promising to pay for sanitizing after.
Early voting will run from Oct. 12 to Oct. 30 ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential general election.