More advance voting options will be opening up this weekend in Muscogee County. The Elections office has been working to open additional early voting sites as soon as possible.
There have been long lines at the lone advance voting site, so far, the City Services Center. The move to add extra sites is thanks to funding from former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger through his USC Institute for State and Global Policy.
Starting Friday, Oct. 16, advance voting will be available at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center. Elections staff were moving election equipment into the building on Wednesday afternoon.
By Oct. 19, early voting will also be open at the Shirley Winston Rec Center and the new Health Department building on North Veterans Parkway.
“We are opening it up a whole week and three days earlier than we anticipated,” Muscogee County Director of Elections Nancy Boren said.
A woman in line to vote at the City Services Center on Oct. 14 said she welcomes the additional sites.
“I think it’s a good idea, especially for the people who are older. I know they can go in front of the line, but some people get upset that people cut in the line and it’s about to get cold,” Beverly George, a local voter, said.
Here’s why the additional machines matter for advance voting:
On just Oct. 12, 1,338 Muscogee residents voted. There were 1,196 on Oct. 13. Wednesday, Oct. 14, 1,268 people voted. That brings the three-day total to over 3,800.
People are standing in lines. On Monday, Oct. 12th, some waited for up to five hours. The wait was shorter the next two days, only about an hour or two in line.
Right now, there are 18 voting machines in play at one location. By the 19, that number will grow to 104 additional voting machines.
To vote in advance of the Nov. 3 election, here’s where you can go, and when:
From now until Oct. 30, you can vote at the City Services Center off of MAcon Road from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.
From Oct. 16 through Oct. 30, you can also vote at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center on Front Avenue in downtown Columbus from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
From Oct. 19 through Oct. 30, you can vote at the Columbus Health Department Building at 5601 Veterans Parkway from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Also starting Oct. 19, you can also vote at the Shirley Winston Recreation Center at 5025 Steam Mill Road from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Starting Oct. 25 through Oct. 30, you can vote at the Columbus Civic Center ice rink at 400 4th Street.
All of the locations will be open on the weekends during the dates mentioned above.