UGAvotes, a nonpartisan campus organization dedicated to encouraging students to vote, will not host early voting on campus for Georgia’s March 24 presidential primary.
Marleena Tamminen, UGAvotes operations director, said in an email there will not be on-campus voting this spring, but UGAvotes will hold early voting for the general election in November at the Tate Student Center.
The organization held a two-day on-campus early voting event at Tate in October 2018, drawing in over 2,000 people, mostly University of Georgia students and faculty, to vote in the general election. On-campus early voting was also held at Tate for the 2016 general election, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.
UGAvotes volunteers have tabled outside Tate on weekdays since January, helping students to register to vote. Communications Coordinator Rayna Perry said in an email the organization would continue tabling every weekday until March 20.
Despite the lack of on-campus voting, people registered to vote in Athens-Clarke County can cast early ballots at the ACC Board of Elections Office. Additional early voting locations will open March 16, according to the ACC website.
UGAvotes also provides absentee ballot applications on its website or its tables at Tate for students who are not registered to vote in Athens. Students can fill out an absentee ballot application and UGAvotes will email or fax it to the student’s home county on their behalf, Perry said in the email.
Early voting in ACC started on Monday. At a Tuesday meeting, the ACC Board of Elections voted to use paper ballots instead of the state’s new Dominion voting systems. In an email, board chair Jesse Evans said ballot privacy with the new voting machines was “impracticable,” and voters began using paper ballots on Wednesday.
The State Election Board will hold a hearing on March 11 to determine whether the ACC Board of Elections violated state law by switching to the paper ballots. Georgia law allows local governments to use an emergency paper ballot system if security or voter privacy with machines is “impossible or impractical.” At the hearing, the local board must provide evidence that concerns over ballot privacy in Athens met this legal threshold.