Georgians Waited As Long As 8 Hours to Cast Primary Ballots – Problems Will Continue & Grow Without Solution Before November Election, When Increased Voter Turnout is Expected
The Democratic Party of Georgia and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee today filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Secretary of State and county governments that administer elections to address the long lines that have plagued elections – including the June 9th primary that was called a “complete meltdown” – and threaten to disenfranchise voters in November. In addition to the DPG and DSCC, individual Georgia voters also joined the lawsuit and spoke about the problems they experienced in trying to participate in what should be fair elections. Some waited all day, missed work, and even left the polling location hoping to return to a shorter line later only to find it had grown.
Long lines are an obstacle Georgians have known even before the June 9th primary election, when voters waited for up to eight hours to cast their ballots. Since at least 2008, Georgians have experienced some of the longest average wait times in the country, which can deter voters and result in disenfranchisement. The root causes include too few polling locations, a failure to add more polling sites to accommodate the number of additional registered voters (since 2018, Georgia has added 700,000 registered voters to the rolls); inadequate and malfunctional voting equipment; poor election worker training; and not enough emergency paper ballots or poll books.
To ensure Georgians can fairly cast their ballots, the lawsuit outlines several steps elections officials must take, including: additional polling places to reduce the number of long lines on Election Day; more trained poll workers; adequate technical support in the event of voting system problems, and a sufficient number of paper poll books and emergency paper ballots in case problems arise at polling places.
“Every Georgian should be able to safely and easily exercise their right to vote, but so far, the Secretary of State has failed to do his job and protect voters,” said DPG Executive Director Scott Hogan. “The Democratic Party of Georgia will fight to protect every single Georgians’ right to cast their ballot and make sure that the unacceptable problems we saw in the June primary do not happen again in the November election.”
“We all have a responsibility to make sure eligible voters can cast their ballots this fall, and the issues we saw in Georgia in the primary cannot be repeated in November,” said DSCC Chair Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “This is a problem with a clear solution, and there is no reason elections officials should not take the reasonable steps to make sure Georgians don’t stand in line for hours to vote.”
A copy of the lawsuit as filed is available here.
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