092519_PNN_Voting_Machines_Paulding

Paulding voters use the state’s former touchscreen-only system to make their choices in the November 2018 General Election at Taylor Farm Park.

Paulding Democratic leaders are urging fellow party members to attend a county commission work session Tuesday morning to support their complaints about changes in voting precincts before the Nov. 5 election.

Taurus Madric-Morris, chairwoman of the Paulding County Democratic Party, and Paulding resident Lukis Newborn, 14th Congressional District chair of the Georgia Democratic Party, are set to speak to Paulding commissioners during the scheduled 10 a.m. work session.

Morris said today the changes being made this close to the Nov. 5 election is “just creating too much chaos” for voters who must become familiar with a new polling location by Nov. 5.

She also complained in a recent letter to County Chairman Dave Carmichael and Election Supervisor Deidre Holden that changes were being made to remove “one of the largest minority-voting locations” in the county at Taylor Farm Park in southeast Paulding.

The Paulding County Board of Elections recently changed and added Election Day and early voting locations in an effort to shorten lines and serve an increased number of registered voters before the 2020 presidential elections in Georgia.

The elections board voted on Sept. 23 to add 12 new voting locations; remove six schools and Taylor Farm Park from the list; and retain five precincts used in 2018.

It also added Burnt Hickory Park on Cartersville Highway in north Paulding and the Dianne Wright Innovation Center on Bethel Church Road in south Paulding to the list of early voting locations.

Holden said her office added 19,000 county residents, or almost 20 percent, to its list of registered voters in the first nine months of this year.

However, Madric-Morris said in a Sept. 16 letter to Carmichael and Holden that, “By closing Taylor Farm Park, it has been perceived as making voting less convenient and an act of voter suppression.

“Many in the community do not have the same resources and opportunities of being flexible to the changes (made) by the Paulding County Board of Elections.”

She said if someone shows up to vote at Taylor Farm Park and finds that the location has changed, the voter may not locate the new polling place in time or have the transportation or time away from work needed to cast a vote.

“While your response may be that voter cards are sent in the mail, it is not always guaranteed that the voter will receive the information.

“We ask that you please work with this community to keep the Taylor Farm voting location open to satisfy the rights of the voters,” Madric-Morris said.

Holden said today she already has notified the Georgia Secretary of State’s office about the changes.

She said the changes “were not made to confuse anyone.”

“These changes were made to find voting locations that are suitable for the voters, for safety reasons and to prevent long lines on Election Day,” Holden said.

“By changing these in 2019 the voters will have enough notification of the changes to be prepared for the 2020 election year.

“We had to add precincts due to the growth we are experiencing. Doing all of the changes at once was a better solution than to do some now and some later.”

The early voting period is set to begin Monday, Oct. 14, for voters countywide in an ESPLOST renewal referendum and for city voters in Dallas and Hiram for mayor and city council elections.

Voting at the new precincts is set for Nov. 5.

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