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Innovative ‘Test + Vote’ Unites Crucial Civic Duties
As millions of voters continue to head to the polls in droves for early voting with Election Day around the corner, CORE is providing free COVID-19 testing at the largest early voting site in Georgia at State Farm Arena, the home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.
“Voting and protecting our communities against COVID-19 are two of the most important civic duties of every American,” said CORE co-founder and CEO Ann Lee. “We are proud to partner with Fulton County and the Board of Health to provide free COVID-19 testing and protect the health and safety of voters.”
The early voting testing partnership came as a result of CORE’s existing strong partnership with Atlanta’s Fulton County. The two worked rapidly over the course of a few days with the County Board of Health, the Hawks, and State Farm Arena to integrate free COVID testing for early voting as well as free influenza vaccinations provided by the Board of Health.
“I think it really highlights the nimbleness of CORE. We’re nimble enough to try new things and do things that others more driven by bureaucracy might not be able to do,” said CORE Georgia Area Manager Jonathan Golden. “And the County’s all for it too. They’re nimble and they’re fast and they want what’s best for everyone.”
A record-crushing 100 million total voters are expected to participate in early voting, many of whom are voting in person. While the record turnout is a promising display of democracy in action, it presents a precarious situation in a pandemic, especially as new daily cases of COVID-19 have spiked to an all-time high, according to Johns Hopkins data.
“When you vote, you are not making a decision for yourself, but one for your community and family, both present and future. Voting is a system that preserves and protects not just the individual but the entirety of our nation,” said CORE Georgia Operations Manager Sam Archbold. “Just as we should go out and vote not solely for ourselves, we should test for and partake in preventive practices in regard to COVID-19. The true benefit of testing is not for what it can do for you, but rather for what it can do for those around you. Being aware of your status will equip you with the information to isolate when necessary so that you can be conscientious in your efforts to protect others.”
In the first 10 days of early voting, more than 20,000 Fulton County community members cast their ballots at State Farm Arena, with hundreds getting tested and many receiving flu vaccinations as well. Many voters have been surprised by how quick and easy the process is, as they can vote, get tested, and get vaccinated in less than 15 minutes.
With thousands more expected to vote at State Farm Arena through the last day of early voting on October 30, CORE Georgia’s staff is eager to provide as much free COVID testing as possible.
“By providing testing to voters, we’re not only encouraging folks to exercise their critical civic duties but also to do so safely. I think this is where CORE plays a vital role,” said Marisa Kanemitsu, a CORE Georgia staff member administering COVID-19 tests at State Farm Arena. “Ultimately, I think it comes down to building and protecting communities. There’s strength in numbers. The more people who vote and the more people who get tested, the better we all are.” ◼︎