More early voting locations open in Richmond after public outcry

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– Two more locations for early voting opened in Richmond on Tuesday after public outcry over plans to operate only one polling place until mid-October. 

The Hickory Hill Community Center opened on Sept. 28, for voters living on the City’s southside. Richmond City Hall also opened the same day to serve citizens downtown.

“We want to make voting easy, that’s what you should do in a democracy,” said Richmond City Councilman Michael Jones.

Councilman Jones was among the first to cast his ballot early at Hickory Hill Community Cent after fighting to get the polling place open.

“We need access to the polls and that’s what’s the General Assembly has been trying to do the entire time,” he said.

Richmond City Councilman Michael Jones voting at the Hickory Hill polling place in Southside. (Photo: Kerri O’Brien)

Prior to Tuesday, the only location open for early voting was at the Registrar’s Office out on Laburnum Avenue, which opened on Sept. 17. This meant people in the southside who have limited transportation had no opportunity to vote early.

“The General Registrar just dropped the ball,” Jones said.

The Richmond Electoral Board had said their intent all along was to have three locations open on Sept. 17. The city’s General Registrar Keith Balmer said there was some confusion but owned the mistake. Voters like Kiana Creer are happy the issue is resolved.

“I would be upset if I had to go a little further,” she said.

8News saw a steady flow of voters come in and out at the southside location, which offers curbside voting. As of 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 100 voters had already cast their ballot at Hickory Hill.

“I like voting here. It’s easy, it’s smooth and it’s not crowded,” Creer said.

The City Hall location was not as busy Tuesday. The Registrar reported 19 voters as of 2 p.m. Tuesday.

All three locations are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Some weekend hours will begin in October.

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