Locals concerned as Glynn County elections line up with upcoming Ahmaud Arbery murder trial

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — Glynn County is about to see one of the largest murder trials in the area’s history unfold once the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial begins on Monday.

But it’s not the only thing happening in the county- and now some locals are worried the trial may impact voter turnout for the election on Nov. 2.

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The city of Brunswick is hosting a municipal election and it just happens to line up with the murder trial. The Glynn County elections supervisor, Christopher Channell says they let candidates know.

“Well, we also pointed out that there was a good chance that there may be a trial going on at that time so early voting and absentee by mail is the best option,” he said.

Gary Cook is one of the city council candidates in the election. He is concerned the trial may stop potential voters from casting their ballots.

“With this trial going on it’s definitely going to deter and stop people from coming,” Cook said. 

Until this election, a largely Black voting precinct has been held at the Boys & Girls Club. Now, it has been moved to a church 10 blocks away, which happens to be right next to the courthouse where the Arbery trial is being held.

“It’s actually a lot more accessible,” Channell said.

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The board says it’s a more convenient location, but Cook says it’s further away from where most of the voting block lives.

Cook is concerned that people won’t be able find their voting location.

“Why they moved it out of that location I don’t know because they moved it out of the precinct of the voters out there.”

The board of elections says the precinct moved after the school board told it school buildings would no longer host polling locations.

“We received a letter from the school district saying they wanted us to vacate all of the school properties, mainly for safety and security reasons, and so we’ve been looking at that for a while,” Channell said.

The board said it let the public know.

“Every registered voter received a card in the mail saying where their new precinct is. And it’s been in the paper I don’t know how many times.”

Now Cook, a first-time candidate, says he fears the board is not doing enough to tell people the location has changed.

“People still don’t know. They still think they’re going to the elementary school to vote,” Cook said.

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The board says they will post signs on each location and even made banners, but they won’t post those signs until a few days before.

“I think they need to put the signs up today. Yesterday. They are saying that they’re going to put them out probably a couple days before,” Cook said.