Residents Ask That St. John Towers Polling Site Remain Open - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Residents Ask That St. John Towers Polling Site Remain Open

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Augusta, GA - Some senior citizens are speaking out because they won't be able to vote inside their apartment buildings on Election Day.

Last month, the Richmond County Board of Elections voted to close polling places at St. John Towers and Peabody Apartments, but now the residents are fighting to have those sites re-opened.

Dozens of senior citizens showed up to Monday night's Board of Elections meeting with hopes that the polling sites at St. John Towers and Peabody Apartments would be re-opened. Many of the residents in those apartments say it would be too difficult to vote at another polling place.

"We can't get these power chairs wet. We can't get in a manual wheelchair without getting soaken wet, so when it's raining, I just don't go to the polls, or... I won't, from now on. In St. John Towers, we had a roof over ours heads," Connie Shiver said.

After listening to Shiver speak, Secretary L.C. Myles made a motion to re-open the polling sites, but that motion failed with a 3 to 2 vote. Myles says he wanted to wait a little bit longer before shutting down the polling places.

"We've kind of anticipated that these two precincts were going to need a little bit more hands on,"
Myles said.

Chairman Sanford Loyd voted to keep the polling sites closed, adding that the residents at St. John Towers and Peabody Apartments have other voting options.

"Which makes our job to then try to get them to understand the process of the early voting, the process of being able to vote without leaving home, St. John Towers," Loyd said.

But a lot of the residents don't like the idea of voting early or sending ballots through the mail. State Representative Wayne Howard showed up to the meeting to support the residents who say the changes will be an inconvenience.

"I hope that they continue to vote, but it is disappointing. I can feel their pain,"
GA Representative Henry "Wayne" Howard said.

Some residents say they won't attempt to vote on Election Day now, but Shiver says she will do what she can.

"I'm not going to give up my right to vote because that's what the American system is, but I won't make as big an effort to go if it's bad weather," Shiver said.

The Board of Elections says it will educate the residents at both apartment buildings about early voting and absentee voting.
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