The ACC Board of Elections voted unanimously on Tuesday to publish notice of their intent to update the county’s voting precincts, add an entirely new precinct and change the locations of six election day polling places. These changes will take effect next year, starting with the March 12 presidential primaries. They will not affect the November special elections this year.
Polling location changes for 2024
Precinct 1A: The Winterville Train Depot polling location is moving to the Winterville Community Center (371 North Church Street).
Precinct 4A: The ACC Multimodal Center polling location is moving to the Ben-Epps Airport’s community room (1010 Ben Epps Drive).
Precinct 5D: The ACC Fleet Management Office polling location is moving to the Girl Scouts’ office (185 Newton Bridge Road).
Precinct 6B: The Georgia Square Mall polling location is moving to the ACC Extension Office (275 Cleveland Road).
Precinct 6D: The Fire Station #4 polling location is moving to Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary (1150 Oglethorpe Avenue).
Precinct 7C: The Fire Station #3 polling location is moving to Milledge Avenue Baptist Church (1690 S. Milledge Avenue).
New Precinct: The Miriam Moore Community Center (410 McKinley Drive) will be a new election-day polling location.
Why is this happening?
Precinct lines occasionally need to be updated to make sure each precinct has roughly the same number of voters. This can help to prevent extremely long lines for voters in some areas of the county when there are short lines elsewhere. This is the first time the Board of Elections has approved a comprehensive precinct map update in decades.
These new maps were displayed at two public forums held by the ACC Board of Elections.
The changes to polling places are happening for a variety of reasons. For example, the Georgia Square Mall is being completely redeveloped, so it made sense to change that location to the nearby cooperative extension office. Other polling places, such as the ACC Fleet Management building and the Multimodal Center, have always been a bit cramped and the board took this opportunity to move them to a more spacious location.
Parking and accessibility has been a concern at some of the old locations as well. In general, polling locations should be centrally-located within the precinct and have enough room and electrical capacity to deploy one voting machine for every 250 voters.
Jesse Evans, a former member of the Board of Elections, expressed his concern on June 27 at a public forum held by the board about the lack of transit accessibility at the new polling location for precinct 4A, which is the Ben-Epps Airport. Board members replied that the ACC Transit Department will look into operating an election day route to the airport to make up for this deficiency.
Thousands of voters across Athens will be affected by these changes. The Board of Elections will attempt to notify all affected voters through the mail, and everyone can check their My Voter Page to see the changes online when they happen.