ACLU condemns Georgia SOS’s efforts to limit absentee ballot votingGeorgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and county elections officials are calling for the General Assembly to reform the state’s no-excuse absentee ballot request rule, citing exhausted workers running multiple elections and strained county resources and budgets.
By Raisa Habersham
A week after Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asked for changes to the state’s no-excuse absentee ballot voting system, the ACLU of Georgia condemned those efforts saying absentee ballot voting has worked to keep residents safe while voting in a worldwide pandemic.
“When COVID-19 has killed over 300,000 Americans and 10,000 Georgians, we should recognize the fact that no-excuse absentee voting will continue to save lives in Georgia, instead of engaging in baseless attacks,” ACLU of Georgia political director Christopher Bruce said in a statement to Saporta Report.
In a press release last posted last week, Raffensperger urged the Georgia General Assembly to alter the state’s no-excuse absentee ballot rule to allow, citing exhausted workers running multiple elections and strained county resources and budgets.
In addition to the Georgia Senate runoff races, the state is managing elections for the Public Service Commissioner. Earlier this month, there were elections in parts of metro Atlanta to fill the remainder of Congressman John Lewis’ seat left vacant after he died from pancreatic cancer this summer.
“Asking county elections officials to hold no-excuse absentee ballot voting in addition to three weeks of early, in-person voting, and election day voting is too much to manage,” Raffensperger said.
The change could mean Georgians may be required to provide a reason to receive an absentee ballot by mail.
In 2005, Georgia passed no-excuse absentee ballot voting, which had been used by between 5 and 7 percent of Georgia voters. But the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a surge in absentee ballot requests and in part contributed to long voting lines during the primaries in June.
Voting groups have criticized Georgia’s voting laws, which require identification at the polls and an exact match law. No-excuse absentee ballot voting has been particularly useful for those who need easier access to the polls.
Bruce said no-excuse absentee ballot voting is the most common-sense way to limit exposure to the virus.
“No-excuse absentee voting provides a safe, secure, and accessible way for registered voters to cast their ballot,” Bruce said. “To remove this voting option is reckless and irresponsible.”
Residents with absentee ballots can submit their ballots at any dropoff ballot box in their respective counties. The runoff races will be held on Jan. 5.