After initially saying that there would not be early voting available for two special elections in March, Fulton County made an about-face Friday, and announced early voting would be available for three weeks ahead of the elections.
The special elections in Atlanta and Hapeville will take place March 19. Tuesday, a county spokesperson said the cities had decided not to hold early voting. Friday, Richard Barron, Fulton’s director of registration and elections, said that had been a misunderstanding that arose after the retirement of an elections official who was involved in scheduling the March election.
When Barron realized the cities were about to go forward without early voting, he intervened.
“I just think it’s better,” Barron said. “People are used to having early voting, and we can get it done.”
In Atlanta, voters will go to the polls to choose from the nine candidates vying fill the district 3 council seat vacated when Ivory Lee Young died. In Hapeville, voters will choose an alderman at large. There are two candidates in that race.
Barron said he didn’t know if turnout would have been affected if early voting wasn’t available. But he said with Fulton pushing early voting in recent years, it made sense to have it this time, too.
There will be only one early voting location, in Atlanta, at the Fulton County Government Center. Early voting will take place weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m, Feb. 25 to March 15. There will be no weekend early voting available.
Barron said there was no place available to have early voting in Hapeville, but Hapeville residents will be able to vote early at the county’s government center, at 130 Peachtree St. SW.
“It doesn’t take any time for us to put one site together,” Barron said.
The last day to register to vote in the election is Tuesday.
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