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Early voting has started and three generations cast their ballots at Emory
Mina Rhee

Three generations of this Emory family went together to make their voices heard in the 2022 General Election: Mina Rhee, associate general counsel at Emory (right), her mother, Haesun Rhee, and her son, first-year Emory student Jesse Fineman.

— Emory Photo Video

Early voting for Georgia’s 2022 General Election started on Monday, Oct. 17 — including at the polling location on Emory’s campus, at 1599 Clifton Road. For Emory students, faculty, staff and surrounding community members who are registered to vote in DeKalb County, it’s making early voting easier.

In fact, that’s where three generations of Mina Rhee’s family cast their votes.

Rhee, associate general counsel at Emory, made her voice heard this week, alongside her mother, Haesun Rhee, and her son, first-year Emory student Jesse Fineman.

“This is the first time all three of us are voting together, so that’s super exciting,” Rhee says. “I usually assist my mom, but this is really symbolic of the legacy of my parents’ efforts to become citizens and passing down our responsibilities to participate in the democratic process, first to me and now from me to my son.”

Rhee explains that her parents were refugees from North Korea during the Korean war and that her mom hasn’t missed voting in an election since she was naturalized in 1963. Rhee’s late father, Rev. Syngman Rhee, a Presybterian minister and faculty member at the University of Louisville during the civil rights movement, also marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to fight for equality among all Americans, including voting rights, regardless of race. “They saw firsthand what it looks like to lose the ability to participate in decision-making about the direction your country is taking,” she says.

While the three had planned to vote last week, they had to reschedule due to an accident. Haesun fell on Wednesday and was treated in the ER for a broken arm and facial cuts. “Right after we left the ER,” Rhee says, “she asked when she could early-vote!”

Although it was Fineman’s first time voting in a General Election, he accompanied his mom to the polls throughout his childhood.

“I would take my kids to the polling place, and they would come in with me and watch me do the whole check-in process and then get a sticker,” Rhee remembers. To prepare for Fineman’s first time voting, the two printed sample ballots, talked through the issues and candidates, watched debates and attended campaign rallies.

So why didn’t they wait until Election Day on Nov. 8?

Rhee explains that access to early voting is one important way to ensure equity, as not everybody has the luxury to take time to vote on Election Day. “I’m a big proponent of early voting. Elections truly are a season, so they should generate excitement and offer flexibility for voters.

“I early-vote because it’s a good way to participate without a lot of pressure and to be part of a wave that leads up to the election,” Rhee adds. “Maybe it even has the potential to encourage somebody to vote who wouldn’t have otherwise.”

She’s certainly not alone. More than 130,000 Georgians cast ballots on the first day of early voting — the previous midterm first-day record was 72,000.

Early voting continues through Nov. 4, Monday through Friday 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Early voting is also available this Saturday, Oct. 29, 8 a.m.–6 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 30, 12–5 p.m. Any registered DeKalb County voter can cast an early ballot at 1599 Clifton Road; parking is free.

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