Georgia Votes Declares: Don’t Bother My Ballot
On the heels of a string of proposed legislation that aims to roll back Georgia voters’ access to the ballot, Georgia Votes held a press conference demanding fair and transparent election laws for the state.
“After what many would argue was the most successful election in Georgia history given the volume of voter turnout especially during a pandemic, we are now faced with the specter of regressive laws that seek to suppress the voices and votes of Georgia residents,” said Helen Butler, Executive Director of the Coalition for the People’s Agenda. “There has been no evidence to date of massive absentee voting fraud in Georgia or elsewhere in the 2020 election cycle,” she continued, “and there should be no rush to change a process based upon false narratives about absentee ballot fraud.”
Georgia Votes collaborative includes: All Voting is Local-Georgia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Black Voters Matters, Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Common Cause Georgia, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, LCF Georgia, League of Women Voters of Georgia, Georgia NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, The New Georgia Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The collaborative rejected baseless claims of voter fraud and emphasized a need to expand, rather than suppress, the voting rights of communities across the state.
“Georgia’s systems are set up to be secure and have multiple fail-safes to prevent improper voting. Elections officials double-check absentee ballot applications and returned ballots against the voter rolls,” said Aunna Dennis, Executive Director of Common Cause. “Elections officials perform signature verification on both the application and the outside envelope of voted ballots. Voters with internet access are able to track their ballots online. The system is set up to be secure — and it works. The Cobb County audit proved that.”
The collaborative insists that there are alternative means for confirming the identity of voters who submit absentee ballot applications and ballots that are far less burdensome than any of the proposals set forth thus far. With nearly a dozen new voter restriction laws introduced in the last week, Georgia Votes is on high alert and prepared to mobilize to make sure that Georgia state legislators know that voters want more – not fewer – options to participate in the democratic process.
“Copying photo IDs multiple times during an election cycle is an unreasonable and unnecessary burden on voters,” said Jerry Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. “In a single election cycle, voters could be forced to make 10 or more copies of their photo ID to enclose with each application for an absentee ballot and with the ballot itself. This is just another attempt to curtail the rights of everyday Georgians and to make it harder for diverse, underrepresented, and unserved members of our community to vote.”
This proposed legislation would place an undue burden on the communities of color that showed record turn out in Georgia’s 2020 election cycle.
AAPI voters, along with Black and Hispanic voters, proved instrumental to the historic voter turnout we’ve seen over the past year. “Bills such as SB 29 take a direct aim at the culture of civic engagement that we’ve been able to build in Georgia. This bill and bills like it are detrimental to voters of all kinds, not just because of race and color, but also because of socioeconomic status,” said LaVita Tuff, Policy Director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta. “If we don’t push back on bills of this kind, we will continue to see a false narrative painted and stated against voters that are untrue, not sustainable, and will continue to threaten their civic engagement and civil rights. We cannot stand for it.”
The full press conference can be viewed here.
Georgia Votes is a bold, trusted, and diverse collaborative that champions an equitable and inclusive democracy, for and with traditionally underrepresented communities. Georgia Votes supports and coordinates the civic engagement programs of our diverse partner organizations, and develops the infrastructure, executes the joint strategies, and employs new tools and technology to assure a government that is more responsive to the needs of our constituencies.