Gwinnett to have more early voting options this fall than ever before

Gwinnett County elections supervisor Kristi Royston (left) gives instructions to individuals waiting in line for early in-person voting at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Office in Lawrenceville, Monday, May 18, 2020. The county has added more early voting options this year than in the past. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM) AJC FILE PHOTO

Gwinnett County voters will have more opportunities to vote early than ever before.

County commissioners on Tuesday approved an early voting plan for November’s election that opens the main elections office and eight other locations for three straight weeks of early voting.

It’s the first time there have been nine places to cast early ballots, and the first time they’ve all been open that far ahead of the election. The hours will include two weekends.

The main elections office will be open for voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., while all the other locations will open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Early voting will begin Oct. 12 and go through Oct. 30.

The hours are those that were requested by the county’s bipartisan elections board. County commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of the expanded hours, with Republican Tommy Hunter voting no.

Kristi Royston, Gwinnett’s elections supervisor, said the county would add the Lawrenceville fairgrounds as an early voting location. The fairgrounds will provide room for more machines, and space to spread out amid social distancing recommendations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Three traditional early voting locations that had been closed throughout this year because their size makes social distancing difficult will be opened, with spacing expected to allow fewer people inside at a time than in the past.

The early voting locations, in addition to the main elections office and the county fairgrounds, are at Bogan Park, Dacula Park, George Pierce Park, Lenora Park, Lucky Shoals Park, Mountain Park Park and Shorty Howell Park.

Royston said the county would urge people to go to the fairgrounds, where there is more space than at any other location.

In addition to early voting, Royston said she expects an increase in voting by mail. Tuesday evening, Royston said she had received more than 105,000 requests for absentee ballots.

The county will have ballot drop boxes available, including one at each of the early voting locations and at each of the county’s 15 libraries.