a polling place sign

By Maggie Lee

For three days, Fulton County is adding free COVID-19 tests at three places that folks may want to get to soon: early voting locations.

Starting at 10 a.m., walk-up COVID-19 tests will be available in the parking lots of these voting locations:

  • South Fulton Service Center, 5600 Stonewall Tell Road
  • Garden Hills Elementary, 285 Sheridan Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30305
  • Sandy Springs Library, 395 Mount Vernon Hwy NE, Sandy Springs, GA 30328

You don’t have to vote to get a test and you don’t need an appointment to do either one. Anyone can get a test, regardless of symptoms.

The tests are provided by the Fulton County Board of Health and Community Organized Relief Effort, a nonprofit.

Fulton also continues to offer testing at three other sites:

  • Center for Health & Rehabilitation, 265 Boulevard NE, Atlanta, GA 30312
  • Wolf Creek Amphitheater, 3025 Merk Road, SW, College Park, GA 30349
  • 4700 North Point Parkway, Alpharetta

The county also maintains a list of hours and places to get free tests.

There have been 4,116 positive COVID-19 tests in Fulton County, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. That’s about 374 cases for every 100,000 residents, and is about on par with the rest of metro Atlanta.

In-person early voting has gotten off to a rough start. When it began last week, some voters started lining up before opening hours at at least one site, the C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation center in southwest Atlanta.

Fulton elections director Rick Barron told his board last week that committed poll workers, worried about the crowds and COVID-19 risk, were threatening to quit.

As of May 22, between about 500 and about 1,300 people had voted at each of Fulton’s in-person early voting locations.

The county is also dealing with new work in the form of mountains of absentee ballots. The state sent absentee ballot applications to active voters, inviting them to vote by mail and avoid risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus.  That’s led to a jump in people choosing to vote by mail. But Fulton has scrambled to keep up with all those applications and ballots.  And that’s led to another issue: voters fearing they won’t get an absentee ballot going to physically vote instead. That gives Fulton two jobs: cancelling that person’s absentee ballot and then administering the in-person ballot.

As of May 22, Fulton had received about 29,500 absentee ballots.  It had received about 143,000 applications.

How & where to vote:

Fulton absentee ballots can be dropped off at any one of 20 locations.

Early voting in person is available at any of five Fulton County polling places: the Alpharetta library, the C.T. Martin rec center, Garden Hills Elementary School, Sandy Springs library and the South Fulton Service Center. See a map here. Early voting ends June 5. Weekday hours are 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Voting on Saturday May 30 are those same hours.

Voting on election day must be done at the voter’s home precinct. See a map here.

The newest and most updated information will be on Fulton County’s website.

Maggie Lee is a freelance reporter who's been covering Georgia and metro Atlanta government and politics since 2008.

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