FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Susannah Scott
ATLANTA - The League of Women Voters of Georgia (president, Susannah Scott) issued the following statement in response to the June 9 statewide primary election:
Georgia voters deserve better. If Tuesday’s primary was the dress rehearsal, then we need a whole new script before the big event in November. Georgia cannot afford an encore!
What we saw Tuesday was the result of a lack of planning and clear leadership from the Secretary of State’s office for carrying out elections during a global pandemic, coupled with the introduction of a new electronic voting system. The League of Women Voters of Georgia (LWVGA) and its partner organizations alerted the Secretary of State that inaction could potentially lead to disaster. Our recommendations were ignored. The result was long lines. Poll locations opening late. Technology glitches. Inexperienced and ill-trained poll workers.
Georgians were so determined to have their voices heard, they were willing to stand in line for five hours or more during a global pandemic to exercise their constitutional right. Some voters reported finally casting their ballot at 12:30AM on June 10. This is unacceptable.
Now is the time to invest in our state’s election infrastructure so that we don’t repeat these mistakes in the Fall. We call on every County Board of Commissioners to provide the necessary funding for equipment, supplies and staffing for Georgia polling places. We call on our U.S. Senators to quickly pass the Heroes Act to provide necessary funding. We call on the Secretary of State, the State Board of Elections, all County Boards of Elections, and all County election supervisors to work together with each other and LWVGA to assess what did and did not work on June 9 and to find solutions to ensure every Georgia voter can cast a ballot this November.
Every registered voter should automatically receive an absentee ballot for the August 11 runoff election and the November 3 general election. We should expand early voting and election day polling locations, improve polling place management, recruit and train additional election workers, and ensure the state and local boards of elections are prepared to process more vote-by-mail ballots than ever before. Voter education and communication is key. While we understand that no one can anticipate everything that can potentially go wrong on election day, Georgians deserve better communications regarding poll closures and changes, vote by mail options, and other election changes as they are instituted.
The challenges voters are experiencing to cast their votes during a global pandemic require swift action. It can be done, but it requires cooperation, collaboration, and vision. Georgia voters deserve better than they got on Tuesday and in the weeks leading up to the June 9 election. Going forward, LWVGA will be implementing an election scorecard to help highlight issues and work with local and state officials for a resolution.
LWVGA has fought for over 100 years to ensure that
eligible voters – particularly those from traditionally underrepresented or underserved communities, including first-time voters, non-college youth, new citizens, minorities, and low-income Americans – have the opportunity and the information they need to exercise their right to vote. Now, more than ever, we continue that fight. Georgians should not have to choose between their health and their ability to participate in democracy. They deserve to cast their ballots without the barriers evidenced in this election.