Victoria Huynh (right), vice president of Center for Pan Asian Community Services, helps answer voter registration questions on Sept. 25, 2018.

Groups target MARTA riders on National Voter Registration Day

It was nearly impossible to get through the atrium at MARTA’s Five Points Station on Tuesday without being asked about your voter registration status. 

Volunteers prowled the perimeter with clipboards, as others called out to passersby from behind paperwork-strewn tables. Hurried commuters either made beelines for the train, or let themselves be lured in by the commotion, the blaring music, the swag on display. 

In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 election, MARTA has been hosting nonpartisan events with voter registration groups at its stations. Tuesday’s event, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., was organized for National Voter Registration Day, a holiday held on the fourth Tuesday of September to encourage people to sign up to vote. 

Victoria Huynh, vice president of the Center for Pan Asian Community Services, fielded questions about early voting locations and absentee ballots while giving away mechanical pencils and candy. For her, the number of people she registered wasn’t as important as reminding people to vote — for whoever they want. 

“If you get someone who’s not registered, even better,” Huynh said. 

CPACS was joined by organizations such as the League of Women VotersProGeorgia and Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda. AID Atlanta was also on hand to encourage people to register to vote and sign them up for the annual AIDS Walk Atlanta on Oct. 21.

Sirtay Thomas, a “Grady baby” born and raised in Atlanta, was already registered. But after noticing the booths set up, he decided to double-check his status to make sure he can vote.

“Voting stands for something,” he said. “The candidate should have a solid purpose of what they’re trying to accomplish. The creed, race doesn’t matter.” 

The upcoming election includes the race for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams, Republican Brian Kemp and Libertarian Ted Metz, as well as elections for the U.S. Congress, secretary of state, attorney general, state schools superintendent and the General Assembly.

Equwan Varner, 18, registered to vote at MARTA's Five Points Station on National Voter Registration Day, Sept. 25, 2018. BECCA J. G. GODWIN

One person who registered to vote at MARTA Tuesday, adding to Georgia’s pool of more than 6.8 million voters, was Equwan Varner. The 18-year-old said he wants to take his “freedom back,” and plans to vote for the Democratic candidate for governor in November. 

The state’s voter registration deadline is Oct. 9. MARTA will hold another registration event that day at the Doraville Station from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

READ | Georgia cancels fewer voter registrations after surge last year

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The race for Georgia governor turned to education Wednesday as both Democrat Stacy Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp laid out plans to help Georgia school districts.

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