Inside the Vote: Precincts and polling places

Many counties lost polling places for the June primary because of the pandemic. Both state and local officials have worked to get new locations onboard before November.

Fulton County alone added almost 100 polling places since June. Those planning to vote early will have some new inspiring choices.

The High Museum of Art will make its debut as an early voting location.

"This is our first time doing it, so we're excited to be a part of the process. Obviously the High is located in the heart of Midtown," said communications director Kristie Swink Benson. "We feel like it's a perfect location from our proximity to MARTA to us just being centrally located in the city and easy for people to get to. So, we want Fulton County residents to come and to exercise their right to vote."


State Farm Arena also stepped up to serve as an early voting location for Fulton County for the first time this election cycle. Voters can choose to cast their ballot at any of those sites during advance voting.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says his office worked with counties to recruit non-profit groups and churches to replace the locations that backed out because of COVID-19.

"Because we know that we're going to have big numbers and we're going to need more polling places because some, you know, weren't available and won't be available.  We used to be in an awful lot of senior housing or senior centers and those won't be available this fall," Raffensperger said.

Forty-two percent of voters who haven't already voted in Georgia think they will vote in person on Election Day, 32 percent say they think they will vote at an early voting location, and 23 percent say they will vote by mail or absentee ballot.

RELATED: Absentee by mail voting in Georgia: What you need to know

Richard Barron, elections director for Fulton County, says they had just 164 voting locations for the June primary, which resulted in some so-called "mega" polling sites, like Park Tavern where voters stood in line for hours to cast their ballots.

"We lost 45 locations before the June election and 44 of those were COVID related," Barron said.

In November, Fulton County will have 255 election day boting locations and only four of them will have more than 4,000 assigned voters.

Election officials in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties say they will for the most part have their normal number of precincts.

But with so many changes , it is important for voters to confirm their polling location before election day. You can do so by logging on to the Secretary of State's My Voter page.

Barron says it is critical that people go to the right precinct on November 3, because voters in the wrong place must full out a provisional ballot. Those ballots may not have the right races listed. Not only could you miss out on voting for your state lawmaker or judge, voting provisionally also takes about three times longer.

RELATED: Know what is on your ballot before November

"We always say, 'know before you go.'  So, on Election Day, you have to know where your polling place is because if you go to the wrong polling place, not only will it take you longer to vote because you have a vote a provisional ballot, but it will take everyone behind you longer to vote because you're voting in the wrong precinct," he said.

Fulton County plans to mail out notices to all the voters who polling places have been updated.

Georgia law prohibits counties from changing polling locations less than 60 days before a general election. Groups that want to offer up space for the next cycle can contact their county elections office.