After objections were raised from voting rights groups when Cobb cut its advance voting locations to fewer than half what they were before the November 3 general election, Cobb County issued the following press release announcing more locations and a location change of one other site:
Marietta GA – December 9, 2020 | Responding to concerns about adequate advance voting locations for the January 5 runoff election, Cobb Elections will make adjustments to voting sites for the advance voting period starting next week.
Elections will make the following changes:
- Move the advance voting location from the Ward Recreation Center to the Ron Anderson Community Center in Powder Springs.
- They will add two additional locations during the third week of advance voting: the Arts Place-Mountain View in Marietta, and the Smyrna Community Center in Smyrna.
- They will quickly start training poll managers to handle the additional locations.
Cobb had opened an unprecedented number of advance voting locations for the November general election. Anticipating high demand and realizing the November ballot was a long one, nine advance voting locations were opened, and two others were added after the second week of the advance voting period in October.
Elections Director Janine Eveler said staffing issues prevented them from opening a similar number of locations for the January 5 runoff.
Many election workers, having worked long hours during the November election cycle and subsequent state-ordered recounts, have left the county. Others have expressed a reluctance to work long hours over the holidays. The department has typically relied on a consistent group of workers to handle their elections, however, many bowed out earlier this year citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
“Between COVID, the workload, and the holidays, we have simply run out of people,” Eveler said. “Many workers told us they spent three weeks working 14- or 15-hour days and they will not do that again. We simply don’t have time to bring in and train up more workers to staff the number of locations we had for November.”
Because there are only two races on the ballot, officials believe voters will spend significantly less time inside the polling locations. They will monitor the wait times at each location, provide a wait-time website for voters to use, and will make further adjustments as necessary during the three-week period.
Elections officials urge voters to use absentee voting.
You can apply for an absentee ballot on the state’s website at https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/Elections/absentee_voting_in_georgia.
All 16 absentee ballot drop-boxes remain open that voters can use to drop off their applications as well as their completed ballots.
You can find a list of drop-box locations at https://s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/cobbcounty.org.if-us-west-2/prod/2020-11/2021Jan_AB-DropOffLocations.pdf