The Cobb County Elections Board decided late this week to add an additional Saturday Early Voting Day on October 25th at the South Cobb Community Center in Mableton. That in itself is perhaps not too newsworthy. It is worth noting how it came about.
The Cobb Southern Christian Leadership Conference October Newsletter contained an open letter from Cobb District 4 Commissioner Lisa Cupid to Janine Eveler, the Director of the Cobb Elections and Registration department, titled “Concerns Regarding Early Voting and Saturday Voting Options in Cobb???” From the letter:
I have shared publicly and have spoken with Ms. Eveler about my concerns that Saturday voting and extended early voting is offered in northern areas of Cobb and not South.
One obstacle I was informed of included event conflicts in southern Cobb facilities. Considering the significance of elections to the function of our society, it does not seem impossible for the scheduling of elections to supersede other events. Some creativity could have certainly been used to move events to other facilities or to other dates to best ensure participation in a critical civic function.
The newsletter also included a memo from Ms. Eveler to the members of the Cobb Elections board that provided some background on advance voting locations and how many Cobb voters had participated in early voting, including this:
There were events already scheduled at the Windy Hill and S. Cobb Community Centers on Saturday 10/25, requiring us to schedule the room set-up on Sunday 10/26 and Monday morning 10/27. … Our limited historical data shows that fewer people have voted on Saturday than virtually any day within the last week, so we believe that having more locations open during the last week provides better service to voters than having more Saturday voting locations.
While the South Cobb Community Center ended up being one of the Monday-Friday early voting locations, it had been booked for October 25th by someone who was having a family reunion. That’s what was preventing Saturday early voting there.
We are told that community leaders in the area, along with Ms. Cupid, raised around $4,000 from private sources so that the reunion could be moved to a different location.
And that opened up the venue to allow Saturday early voting.