During the 2018 and 2020 elections, students at colleges and universities located within Fulton County could take advantage of the ability to vote early on campus. But a recent announcement has made it clear this may no longer be the case later this year – despite historic statewide elections.
Over the past month, students and administrators with these universities have heard directly from the Fulton County Department of Elections and Registration that they do not plan on providing early voting on any college campus this year.
That decision affects over 58,000 students across diverse campuses like Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, Atlanta Metropolitan State University, and the colleges of the Atlanta University Center (Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University). Many of these colleges are among the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and all of them serve a majority non-white student population.
Below is a map of college campuses (in blue) and early voting locations (in red) that would be nearest the campus if this decision moves forward.
There was record turnout on campuses in 2020, when Fulton County Department of Elections and Registration provided early voting sites to colleges like Georgia State and Georgia Tech. During the pandemic, some sites which had historically housed an early voting location, like the Atlanta University Center, temporarily suspended their early voting sites while their classes were fully online.
Many students without transportation that may not have been able to vote otherwise were able to take advantage of on-site early voting sites. Faculty and staff, who often work long hours, could also take advantage of this convenience.
Students are already dealing with the consequences of SB202, which shortens the time to order, receive, and return an absentee ballot – also known as vote by mail. This process helped many students, who were registered in their home counties, to conveniently vote while focusing on their classes.
This latest move is part of a concerning trend of college students seeing their voter rights come under attack. In a recent Fulton County Board of Elections meeting, a student from Georgia Tech stated, “I’m a Junior at Georgia Tech and I am from Florida. I still live in Georgia and should be able to comfortably vote without the fear of being purged every year because I have 2 addresses. I have decided to show up to my board of elections meetings to start questioning the board on why I have to keep re-registering to vote.” This student, like so many more, faces an uphill battle just to vote – and Fulton County’s recent move will only add one more layer to the difficulty they face to have their voice heard.
What can you do?
Did you know that the public can attend Board of Registration and Elections meetings?
These meetings are open to the public by Georgia law and your voice can help prevent voter suppression like this across the state!
Become a Peanut Gallery Volunteer Monitor at our next training on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 6pm! visit https://georgiapeanutgallery.org/contact/ for more information!