DeKalb Voters: Let Board of Elections know we need good advance voting options

Editor’s note

This post was written for the Nov. 3 election. To read about early voting in DeKalb County, GA for the January 5, 2021 runoffs, click here. 


DeKalb Board of Elections virtual meeting Monday, Sept. 14, 2020 at 4:30 pm. You can watch the meeting by clicking this link. You can also email public comments beginning at 4:30 p.m. Monday at this link. 

By Jonathan Grant

Although the DeKalb Board of Elections hasn’t yet posted an agenda for Monday’s meeting, there’s about a 100 percent chance it will be considering and voting on advance or early voting sites for the general election. That stands to reason since the next scheduled meeting is set for 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, and early voting will start just a few days later, on Oct. 12.

Many people, especially in DeKalb, will be voting absentee. The Board has voted to send out absentee ballot request forms to all registered voters. While I haven’t seen any such mail from the county yet, I did receive a form from another source, and the Georgia Secretaty of State’s website now has a portal people can use to request one.

Not everyone is comfortable using absentee ballots, however. And after seeing the lines at many Georgia polls in the June 9 primary, people may also be leery of voting in-person on election day. That’s why it’s important to give voters ample opportunities to vote in-person early and less the crush on Election Day. Better for everyone all around.

Unfortunately, DeKalb’s elections board hasn’t always offered generous accommodations for early voters. I should note that Director Erica Hamilton offered a robust menu of nearly a dozen sites for this year’s primaries, but many of those proposed locations were cancelled due to Covid-19.

It will be extremely important to offer early voting sites all over the county. Historically, the Board’s policiy is a little short-sighted on this. Typically, the staff proposal offers three three-week locations: Main Office on Memorial Drive, Dunwoody Library, and South DeKalb Mall. One north, one south, one central. All three locations are in western DeKalb, however.  While Tucker and Stonecrest libraries serve east DeKalb, they typically don’t open up during the first week of early voting.

Due to the unique problems facing voters and local election officials, both Tucker and Stonecrest should be open for three weeks for early voting. Also, while Dunwoody Library serves a high-turnout population, it is not a geographically convenient location. Unfortunately, during the primary, there was no early voting in Brookhaven, Chamblee, or Doraville. At least two of those locations need early voting sites. In South DeKalb, the board is now using House of Hope Church. Hopefully, that will be available again, along with locations that had been planned for Decatur, East Atlanta, and Stone Mountain, to name a few places. The sites I rattled off are not the only ones to consider and approve. As a general rule, the more, the better.

BRE September 14 2020 Meeting Notice

If you miss the meeting, or are reading this after it has concluded, you may still want to register your opinion on the subject by emailing the members and Elections Director Erica Hamilton.

Email addresses

DeKalb Board of Elections
Chair Samuel E. Tillman (N) (sic)
Vice Chair Baoky N. Vu ®
Member Anthony Lewis (R)
Member Susan Motter (D)
Elections Director Erica Hamilto 


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