The ACLU of Georgia proudly champions, protects, and defends YOUR constitutional right to vote. Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy upon which all of civil liberties rest.

Following the 2016 election, the fight for voting rights remains as critical as ever. Politicians across the nation continue to engage in voter suppression, efforts to stop citizens from exercising their constitutional right to vote. Through litigation and advocacy, the ACLU of Georgia is fighting back against attempts to curtail as well as fighting to expand access to this fundamental right in our democracy.


Georgia’s anti-voter bill attacks absentee voting, criminalizes Georgians who give a drink of water to their neighbors, allows the State to takeover county elections, and retaliates against the elected Secretary of State by replacing him with a State Board of Elections Chair chosen by the legislature—rather than the voters.

How does this effect Georgia voters?

  • The State forces citizens who need to vote by mail to risk identity theft.
  • The State cuts off citizens’ ability to apply for an absentee, mail-in ballot 11-days before the final election day.
  • The State restricts drop box locations and hours to inside early voting locations during office hours only. Last election, drop boxes were located outside of buildings and accessible 24/7.
  • The State can take-over local election boards and hire and fire local employees when an election result displeases a politician. 
  • The State can put in jail citizens who offer food or water to voters standing in line for hours in the heat.
  • The State bans local counties, cities, and towns from receiving private funding which has paid for things such as generators during a terrible storm on Election Day.

Our Lawsuit

Civil rights groups filed a new federal lawsuit against Georgia’s sweeping law that makes it much harder for all Georgians to vote, particularly voters of color, new citizens, religious communities, and people with disabilities.

The lawsuit challenges multiple provisions in SB 202, including the following:

  • ban on mobile voting
  • new narrow identification requirements for requesting and casting an absentee ballot
  • delayed and compressed time period for requesting absentee ballots
  • restrictions on secure drop boxes
  • out-of-precinct provisional ballot disqualification
  • drastic reduction in early voting in runoff elections
  • perhaps most cruelly, ban on “line warming,” where volunteers provide water and snacks to Georgians, disproportionately those of color, who wait in needlessly long lines to cast their vote.

Learn more about this lawsuit


Impact of SB 202

How does this effect early in-person voting and drop boxes?

  • Early voting locations must be open on weekdays from 9am - 5pm. Counties have the option of extending early voting hours to a maximum of 7am - 7pm.
  • Two mandatory Saturdays of early voting. Sundays optional. Does not apply to runoff elections.
  • Prohibits early voting on observed state holidays, including Columbus/Indigenous Peoples' Day.
  • Prohibits mobile voting units with limited exception for emergencies.
  • Dropboxes must be located inside early voting sites (or election offices) and can only be accessed by voters during early voting hours.
  • Each dropbox must be under constant surveillance by in-person security.
  • Introduces a new formula – the number of dropboxes a county may have is capped at one per 100k active voters or one per early voting site (whichever is fewer).
  • Each county must have at least one dropbox.

How does this affect vote by mail?

  • Voters can apply for a VBM ballot 78 days before an election.
  • Deadline to apply for a VBM ballot is 11 days before the election.
  • Unlikely there will be an online portal as voters must sign their VBM application with "pen and ink."
  • When submitting a VBM ballot application voters must provide their driver's license or State-issued ID card number (4), name, date of birth, registration and delivery addresses, and signed oath. In lieu of a DL/ID number voters must include a copy of valid identification (5).
  • The county election office must mail out VBM ballots 29-25 days before a federal election.
  • SOS and county election offices cannot send voters VBM applications unprompted. Third-party groups still can, but cannot pre-fill the application, must provide a disclaimer, and must also ensure that applications are only going to voters who have NOT already requested, received, or voted a VBM ballot. SEB may require third-party groups to pay $100 per duplicate VBM application.
  • Makes it a misdemeanor (9) for somebody other than the voter or an authorized person to handle or return a completed VBM application.

How does it affect election day voting?

  • In considering a poll hour extension, courts must apply a new legal standard when determining whether people were unable to vote. Poll hours may not be extended longer than the period voting was interrupted. Poll extensions beyond 9pm require a written order.
  • Out-of-precinct provisional ballots are ONLY counted if cast after 5pm and if a voter signs a sworn statement that they are unable to make it to their assigned polling place in time.
  • "Line warming" is prohibited within 150 feet of polling places and 25 feet of voters in line. Poll officers may set up an unattended "self-service" water station.

How does SB202 affect runoff elections?

  • Runoff elections (both state and federal) are held four weeks after an election.
  • Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) implemented for UOCAVA (1) voters ONLY.
  • No more "jungle primaries."

How does SB202 affect ballots, processing, and returns?

  • Ballots must be printed on special security paper.
  • The election superintendent (1) is authorized to begin ballot processing up to three weeks before an election.
  • The superintendent may order a duplication panel for defective ballots.
  • Superintendent must report returns of VBM ballots by 5pm the day after the election. Failure to meet the deadline may invite SEB performance review. Superintendent may not cease counting ballots. County elections must report the numbers of VBM ballots returned and early votes cast not later than 10am the next day during the early vote period.
  • Scanned ballot images (excluding sensitive information) are public records subject to disclosure.

How does SB202 affect the county election and administration?

  • Bans outside funding and gifts to election offices (via election officials and superintendents).
  • Party and candidate-appointed poll watchers must receive training

  • Poll workers may serve in adjoining counties if their superintendent waives the residency requirement.

  • Precincts with more than 2000 electors AND lines lasting longer than one hour during the previous general election must be reduced in size and/or be provided with additional equipment and poll workers before the next general election.

  • 250 electors per voting booth formula only applies to general elections. Superintendent can increase or decrease equipment allocation for non-general elections.

  • Any elector of a county may challenge the qualifications of any person(s) or their right to vote in an election. Challenged voters must be informed in writing and a hearing must be set within ten days. There is no limit on the number of challenges that can be raised. Failure to comply will invite SEB performance review.

How does SB202 affect the secretary of state (SOS) & state election board (SEB)?

  • SOS is no longer the chairperson of SEB and is now a non-voting member. The GA General Assembly elects the SEB chairperson.

  • SOS's office must provide all necessary support to the SEB if requested.

  • SEB may only adopt emergency rules or regulations in extreme circumstances. Allows the state legislature to overrule SEB emergency rules.

  • SEB can conduct investigations into county elections, which can be initiated by petition or by SEB.

  • County superintendents can be suspended by the SEB. SEB replacement runs county elections with full authority.

  • The state legislature has an outsized influence over state and county election administration and has the power to take over and strongarm county elections through control of the SOS and SEB.