ROSWELL, Ga. — Fulton County is on track to add back a second early voting site and early voting hours to Roswell, according to the latest news from the mayor and City Council.
The City Council held a special meeting July 29 to discuss the latest changes to this year’s elections.
Earlier this summer, the Fulton County announced it would reduce the number of early voting hours and sites across the county from 16 sites to nine in a bid to save costs. Expenses for this year’s elections are higher for most cities because Atlanta, which normally shares in the cost, has no seats up for election.
Fulton County originally quoted Alpharetta a charge of $202,000 to conduct its elections, almost twice the cost of its 2017 elections. And in Johns Creek, the initial cost was $445,000.
Roswell’s initial bill was even higher.
Fulton County originally wanted to charge Roswell $650,000, but negotiations have cut that number nearly in half to $375,000.
Part of the reason for the high costs is that the county wants to provide household mailers with election information, increase training for poll workers and add more security on election day, city staff said.
But a more persistent, ongoing issue, according to Mayor Lori Henry, is that Fulton County cities are obligated to use Fulton County’s election services.
“All cities in Fulton County have felt the pain of this,” Henry said. “We have felt the pain of negotiating with Fulton County every election cycle on what we are going to be charged… It’s a dance that we dance every election cycle.”
She previously said she has been speaking with state Sen. John Albers to introduce legislation that would allow cities to contract for election services with other entities besides the county. The City Council also voted to take a draft of a similar resolution addressed to the Georgia General Assembly to committee to discuss further.
The county attempted to address its cities’ concerns over high election costs by cutting down on early voting locations and hours. One of those locations was the East Roswell Library.
In past elections, Roswell’s early voting sites have been its two libraries. But with the Roswell Library by City Hall closed for renovations, the city asked the county to include City Hall as a replacement.
Shortly after that change was made, however, the East Roswell Library was taken off the list.
“Early voting has been so successful that taking away any of that opportunity, for me, is just negligence,” Henry said.
After pushback from the city and its citizens, Fulton County brought back the East Roswell Library as an early voting location. Early voting dates and times have also increased and are as follows:
Oct. 15-18, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Oct. 21-25, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Oct. 26, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Oct. 28-Nov. 1, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Four seats will be up for election in Roswell on Nov. 5 — Post 1, currently held by Marcelo Zapata; Post 2, currently held by Mike Palermo; Post 3, currently held by Sean Groer; and municipal court judge, currently held by Brian Hansford.
If necessary, the runoff would be held Dec. 3.