On April 8, 2020, the ACLU of Georgia filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Black Voters Matter Fund and two individual voters to challenge the constitutionality of requiring citizens to buy postage stamps when submitting mail-in absentee ballots. This is tantamount to a poll tax.
The ACLU of Georgia sought a preliminary injunction to require election officials to provide prepaid returnable envelopes for absentee ballots and absentee ballot applications. The District Court dismissed the poll tax claim on August 11, 2020. The ACLU of Georgia appealed that decision.
The State of Georgia requires voters to pay for the cost of ballot delivery via mail (i.e., postage stamps), even though elections officials can and do provide prepaid postage envelopes to cover the mailing costs of other voting-related materials submitted by voters.
Black Voters Matter Fund et al v Raffensperger asks whether, in 2021, the State of Georgia can constitutionally charge mail-in voters up to $1.65 in postal fees to cover the administrative costs of ballot delivery by mail.
The ACLU of Georgia lawsuit explains that this is unconstitutional based on similar poll taxes the U.S. Supreme Court has prohibited.
In 1965, the Supreme Court held that it was unconstitutional for Virginia to charge voters $1.50 to cover the administrative costs of running an election, even if voters could avoid that fee by obtaining a “free” certificate of residence.
The ACLU of Georgia lawsuit continues.
Georgia elections officials cannot open a popular early in-person voting location (such as Atlanta’s State Farm Arena), then charge voters $1.50 to vote at that location (i.e., to cover the costs of renting that space), even if voters can use other early voting locations for free.
The ACLU of Georgia asked that the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reverse the lower court's decision. The court did not grant a reversal.