ATLANTA – A Cobb County Superior Court judge has granted a preliminary injunction extending the deadline for receiving delayed absentee ballots for certain voters, along with other accommodations, in response to a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (ACLU of Georgia), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Dechert LLP.
Cobb County voters whose absentee ballot applications were received by the elections office on or before Nov. 26 will now have their ballot counted if it is postmarked by 7 p.m. on Election Day and received by Cobb County no later than Dec. 9. Voters should check their MyVoter page to confirm their application receipt date. These voters may also use a federal write-in absentee ballot to cast their votes if they have not received their official absentee ballot by Dec. 4.
Voting rights groups are encouraging voters who have not yet returned their ballots to vote in person or hand-deliver their completed absentee ballots to the Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration Office, if they can do so, to ensure their voices are heard.
“This delay in sending thousands of absentee ballots represents a palpable effect of Georgia’s anti-voter law that burdens election officials and shortens the absentee voting time period,” said Poy Winichakul, senior staff attorney for voting rights with the SPLC. “We have pushed back against those barriers with today’s agreement, but barriers to voting will affect our communities time and time again if we do not stand up to them. We encourage all Georgia communities to stand up for their voting rights by exercising them and voting in person or hand delivering their absentee ballots to ensure their voices are heard.”
“This order ensures that affected Cobb voters will be able to make their voices heard during this runoff election,” said Rahul Garabadu, senior voting rights attorney at the ACLU of Georgia. “But it shouldn’t take legal action to ensure that eligible Georgia voters can participate in their democracy. The ACLU of Georgia is committed to making sure that voting is more accessible for every eligible voter.”
“Once again, eligible Cobb County voters who did everything right were on the brink of total disenfranchisement because they faced delays in receiving their absentee ballots. These are unconstitutional and unacceptable, and this important order today aims to fix it,” said Jonathan Topaz, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people. For more information, visit www.splcenter.org.