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Clarke County voters fill out forms while waiting to vote at the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections office on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

The Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections has processed 17,035 absentee ballot applications as of Tuesday, elections director Charlotte Sosebee said in an email.

The board expects about 25,000 people — 67% of registered voters — to vote by absentee ballot in the June 9 combined election and presidential primary.

Sosebee is requesting $73,588 to purchase absentee ballot drop boxes, pay staff overtime and cover postage for some absentee ballots for the election. The Mayor and Commission added the request to its consent agenda during its agenda-setting meeting Tuesday, meaning it will likely be approved during the commission’s June voting meeting.

Staff have ordered four absentee ballot dropboxes, which they expect to install within the next week, County Manager Blaine Williams said during the meeting. They will be placed at locations around ACC.

During a special-called session Tuesday, the commission unanimously appointed Athens residents Erica Cascio, Simone Cifuentes and Stephanie Lynn to a joint development authority with the city of Winterville. The development authority will provide low-interest loans to local businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The commission will consider in June the approval of resiliency package funds for the development authority, Williams said.

District 3 Commissioner Melissa Link urged for the authority to start as quickly as possible to help local businesses. District 9 Commissioner Ovita Thornton said she hopes the commission removes barriers for people receiving the loans.

“I’m very concerned about the small African American businesses, the barbershops and the beauty shops,” Thornton said. “Those are businesses that are prevalent in the black community and often are left out because of different things. I do hope that we have a policy that will look beyond the usual folks.”

The commission will have a work session next Tuesday to discuss a proposed agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation to have inmates clean up GDOT corridors in ACC, Mayor Kelly Girtz said.

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