Chatham Co. Board of Elections early voting location hours extended

Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2022 at 6:22 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Early voting changes are set in Chatham County after the county board of registrars met Wednesday.

Mayor Van Johnson and Alderwoman Dr. Estella Shabazz requested changes ahead of Wednesday’s meeting.

In less than two months early voters will be lined up here. Officials says this will be a busy election season so adding longer voting hours are necessary.

The Chatham County Board of Registrars unanimously voted to open the Board of Elections early voting location from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays instead of closing at 6 as they did previously.

The precinct or satellite sites will remain open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

They also approved Sunday voting on October 23rd and 30th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. which is an hour longer than in the past.

“The unfortunate events in 2020 and then January 6th and the eroding of confidence in government and the election process in general it’s even more important that we do whatever we can to ensure confidence in the system and the accessibility of the right to vote,” Chatham Co Board of Registrars Colin Mcrae said.

Sunday voting on Oct. 23 will be held only at board of election location while Oct. 30 voting will be held at both the board of elections and the civic center.

These changes come after the board received letters from residents and Mayor Van Johnson and Alderwoman Dr. Estella Shabazz.

“There is more room for improvement but I was thankful to the board today for the vote,” City of Savannah Alderwoman Dr. Estella Shabazz said.

While the board of elections will be open an hour later on weekdays, the board was not able to grant their ask of having a polling place open an hour earlier because of budgeting and staffing issues.

“It’s not as easy as one might think to just snap your fingers and have good trained workers available.”

Mayor Johnson and Doctor Shabazz also asked that there be a Pooler early voting location since the nearest location is in Garden City but McRae says their hands are tied.

“We have had a Pooler early voting location in the past but it’s not an available option this time,” Mcrae says.

“It would just be the right thing to do for the people especially those in government in Pooler to help their citizens have a comfortable and closer place to vote,” Shabazz said.

They also wanted to inform the public that if you’re voting by mail, there are new instructions and it’s important read carefully or you may be denied. Chairman McRae says they plan to have news conference to spread awareness and go over those new instructions closer to the start of early voting.