Early voting for the June 9 primary begins today, and voters in Hall County will have a new voting place.
Hall County early voters will go the Gainesville Exploration Academy at 1145 McEver Road instead of the Hall County Government Center on Browns Bridge Road. Early voting polls are open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday through June 5.
This early voting period is the first time voters will use the state's new electronic voting machines. Voters will make their selections on an electronic touchscreen, then print a paper ballot which is deposited into a scanner.
It is also the first time voters have gone to the polls since the coronavirus pandemic hit, and they will see several precautions in place to protect both voters and poll workers.
Voters will be required to maintain social distance, staying six feet away from others. Plexiglass shields will be installed at the table where voters check in with a poll worker. And hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance and exit of the polling location. Poll workers will also sanitize each voting machine between voters.
Voters are encouraged to wear masks, but they are not required.
One Saturday of early voting will be held. It will be on May 30 and three additional polling places, in addition to Gainesville Exploration Academy, will be opened – North Hall Community Center at 4175 Nopone Road; East Hall Community Center at 3911 P. Davidson Road; and Spout Springs Library at 6488 Spout Springs Road.
The four polling locations will also be open during the final week of early voting, June 1-5.
Most voters will find a lot of races on their ballots. The postponed presidential preference primary, originally scheduled for March 24, will be held, and voters will also decide U.S. Senate, U.S. House and state legislative races, as well a mix of county offices from county commission seats and sheriff to tax commissioner and probate judge. At the polls, voters will choose either a Democratic or Republican ballot.
In Hall County, voters will choose a county commission chairman, a sheriff, a clerk of court and a coroner. District 2 voters will choose a county commissioner. Voters in Hall County, Gainesville and Buford will decide on an extension of the ESPLOST and a bond referendum for schools.
Voters can generate a sample ballot that will include all the races in their district by going to the My Voter Page on the Georgia Secretary of State's website. For information about the candidates and to listen to interviews with many of them, visit the AccessWDUN 2020 Voter Guide.
The presidential primary and the general election primary, originally scheduled for May 18, were both rescheduled to June 9 because of the coronavirus.
Almost half of Hall County's 125,000 registered voters have applied for an absentee ballot, which could affect crowds at polling places, both during early voting and on election day.