AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Former Augusta Commissioner Ben Hasan was waving a vote yes sign at Diamond Lakes, which is one of three satellite locations now open for early voting, and he’s happy that there was a decision to add the sites for the arena vote.
“Absolutely. Any time you have a city-wide election, historically, whether it’s the law or not, Augusta Richmond County has participated in that. This a city-wide election, and I think it absolutely needs to be available,” said Hasan.
State Law says Augusta only has to offer early voting at the Municipal Building, but even with an expected turnout of 8 to 12 percent, the decision was made to open the three satellite locations for the final week of early voting.
“Well, the board has a policy that any time it’s a county wide election, the satellite sites are open, so it really varies depending on the turnout. However, because it’s county wide, that is the standard policy,” said Elections Director Travis Doss.
Diamond Lakes and Warren Road are two of the satellite sites now open, and in the past, the third was always the Brigham Center, but it’s closed because a new center is under construction.
So, the decision was made to use the Charles Evans Center on Highland Ave for the first-time replacing Brigham.
“Of course, we wanted to find a fourth location. Since the county is used to having four places, we didn’t want to say Brigham is closed so we don’t have that location,” said Doss.
The satellite locations are not busy, but when they’re open, they have to be staffed and that costs money.
“The entire three weeks of advance voting will be about $60,000. This one week will be around 30 to 35 thousand,” said Doss.
The Satellite sites offer convenience during advance voting, and in one case a new experience. However, all of this comes at a cost.