In the lawsuit, NGP demonstrates how Georgia’s absentee voting application process and the Voter Assistance Ban are unconstitutional and cause an undue burden on the right to vote. The lawsuit calls for better access to vote by mail, including that the state provide prepaid postage for absentee ballots and that ballots postmarked by Election Day be counted by county election offices up to 5 days after the election.
Vote by mail is not new to Georgia, but is more critical this season in light of the COVID-19 virus. More than 1,300 Georgians have died from COVID-19 and, as of last week, the state has 31,605 confirmed positive cases. The death rate in Georgia is estimated to quadruple by August. The pandemic’s impact is not limited to Georgians’ health – it is impacting the economy, education system, jobs, faith activities and now the right to vote.
“It is wrong to make Georgians choose between protecting their health or casting their vote,” said Nse Ufot, CEO of NGP. “We filed this lawsuit to ensure that every registered voter in Georgia will have their voice heard on election day.”
In 2018, more than 219,700 people voted by mail in Georgia, marking the highest turnout for absentee mail voting since the inception of no excuse absentee voting in the state. However Georgia’s absentee voting rules wrongfully resulted in the disenfranchisement of more than 7,000 eligible voters and nearly 1,000 absentee ballot applications rejected due to lack of standards governing the state’s voting process.
“Here we go again, even in the middle of a pandemic, Republicans are trying to make it more difficult for Georgians to vote,” said Francys Johnson, the Chair of the NGP Board. “We should be lending a hand, not creating unnecessary paperwork, when our neighbors are already worrying about their families and livelihood.”