Sometimes it’s true: we just need some space, and that’s not always a bad thing. It can even be a good thing. Such was the case during Hall County’s first week of early voting, which was held in a new location due to social distancing requirements necessitated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Hall County voters lined up at Gainesville Exploration Academy this week to cast a ballot for the June 9, 2020 General Primary/Presidential Preference Primary. That’s a change from the County’s typical early voting site, the Hall County Government Center.
"Voters have been very pleased with the new voting location," Hall County Elections Director Lori Wurtz said. "They have been able to maintain at least six feet of distance from one another and from poll workers, and I don’t think that could have been accomplished at the government center given its layout and overall space constraints."
Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Jeremy Williams said his staff was more than willing to offer up one of their facilities for early voting, especially given the current health crisis.
"Gainesville City Schools is proud to partner with the Hall County Elections Department in order to provide voters with a space they can cast their ballot safely and without compromising their health or endangering others in the process," said Williams.
Wurtz said approximately 591 voters had cast their ballots at the new location as of 7 p.m. Thursday.
"Turnout has been steady, and the feedback we have received has all been positive" she said.
Early Voting is expected to continue at Gainesville Exploration Academy next week, Tuesday through Friday. No early voting will occur on Monday, May 25 in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. During the third and final week of early voting, June 1- June 5, voters can cast their ballots at the North Hall Community Center, the East Hall Community Center and Spout Springs Library, in addition to Gainesville Exploration Academy. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at all locations during all three weeks of early voting.
On Saturday, May 30, polls will open at the North Hall Community Center, East Hall Community Center, Spout Springs Library and Gainesville Exploration Academy as a part of statewide Saturday early voting. The hours for Saturday voting are also 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
"I’d like to thank the Gainesville City School System for their willingness to partner with us to provide voters with a safe space to cast their ballot," Hall County Administrator Jock Connell said. "This is yet another example of how this community has come together during an unprecedented time in order to provide citizens with essential services."
Gainesville Exploration Academy is located at 1145 McEver Road, approximately 1.5 miles from the Hall County Government Center.
More information regarding Hall County Elections can be found here.