Common Cause Georgia Urges Secretary Raffensperger to Disband “Absentee Ballot Task Force”

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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has announced the creation of an “Absentee Ballot Task Force” with broad authority to investigate the use of mail-in ballots.

Among the specific issues, the Task Force is expected to investigate “every” instance when a ballot is rejected for signature mismatch but not later “cured.” Studies in Florida and California show that younger voters and those from racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to have their ballots rejected. Younger voters and racial and ethnic minority voters are also less likely to attempt to “cure” a ballot rejection. Georgia should be taking action to increase the number of ballots that are cured, by making the process more convenient and accessible.

Recent polling shows 72% of all U.S. adults, including 79% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans, support mail-in ballots as a way to protect voters in case of a continued spread of COVID 19.

Statement of Cindy Battles, on behalf of Common Cause Georgia

There is nothing more fundamental to democracy than the act of voting.

Given the current public health emergency, we applaud Secretary of State Raffensperger for his initiative in realizing that many Georgia voters will want to participate in the May 19 elections by absentee ballot.

Absentee ballots – voting by mail, rather than in-person at a polling place – have a trusted place in America’s elections. Absentee ballot systems date back to the late 1800s.

Five states currently run their elections predominantly by mail. Another 21 states allow localities to run by-mail elections.

Here in Georgia, we have been able to use no-excuse absentee voting since 2005.

Secretary Raffensperger recently announced an “Absentee Ballot Task Force” with incredibly broad authority to investigate Georgians who choose to vote by mail.

The situations that would trigger a “Task Force” investigation disproportionately affect voters from racial and ethnic minorities, younger voters, low-income voters and those who don’t have a traditional “residential” address.

No voter should have to factor the likelihood of getting investigated into their calculation of whether to vote by mail or in person.

No voter should face arbitrary obstacles to exercising their right to vote.

Our government is stronger and more representative when more people vote. The “Absentee Ballot Task Force” flies in the face of that goal.

We urge Secretary Raffensperger to disband the group immediately.