SLI Statement regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the Georgia State Electoral and Democratic Processes
The current Coronavirus pandemic presents tremendous challenges to local authorities as they plan for upcoming primary elections--challenges they must be prepared to meet. The safety and health of our communities are paramount. Notwithstanding, steps can and must be taken to protect voters and poll workers while also ensuring that the democratic process moves forward in an equitable manner. Sudden changes to election times, locations, and more have been proven to create barriers to, and in some instances the denial of, citizens’ right to vote. Coupled with the South’s history of voter intimidation and interference in the democratic process, we are concerned about the Georgia Secretary of State’s decision to delay the primary election until May 19 and suspend all in-person voting.
How should voters move forward?
In light of the Secretary of State’s decision to suspend in-person voting, voters are encouraged to request and submit absentee ballots ahead of the May 19 election date.
Step One: Click the link below to download the absentee ballot. This form can be completed electronically or printed and completed by hand. https://sos.ga.gov/admin/files/Absentee_Ballot_Application_2018.pdf
Step Two: Once filled out, you can email, fax, or mail the completed form to your local County Board of Registrar’s Office. To find the contact information for your local county registrar, use this link: https://elections.sos.ga.gov/Elections/countyregistrars.do
We request that the Georgia Secretary of State act immediately to ensure access to voting is not severely impacted by sudden changes to in-person voting availability. To that end, state officials must:
Engage in direct voter contact with those impacted by poll closures
Encourage and provide a means for all voters to cast a mail-in ballot, and make it easier to do so
Prepare for higher rates of mail-in ballot requests and usage
Further, the Georgia Legislative Session, known for its notoriously short calendar, has halted movement on important legislation impacting the overall health and well-being of Georgians across the state. On March 13, members of the Georgia General Assembly decided to indefinitely suspend the Georgia state legislative session. While we applaud the members for their decision to suspend all legislative activities as an effort to safeguard their health and that of the public, we are concerned about the politicization of a public health emergency to serve the interests of a select few.
As more information is made available, SisterLove will provide additional updates via our website and social media. Subscribe today.
Sequoia Ayala, Esq., MA
Director of Policy and Advocacy