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The challenges that have caused DeKalb County’s Board of Elections to delay certifying May primary results highlight how much Georgia’s anti-voter law, S.B. 202, burdens local election officials.
The ACLU of Georgia opposes the shortened 4-week runoff period because it burdens local election officials like DeKalb County administrators with unreasonable certification deadlines. This scenario is likely to happen again as the most populous counties often need more than the 6 days currently allotted to certify their elections.
Assuring an accurate count is a fundamental responsibility of election officials. Meeting the certification deadline from S.B. 202 is challenging enough during normal circumstances, and nearly impossible when elections are too close to call or - as in this case- when technical issues lead to a hand count in order to ensure accurate results.
ACLU of Georgia's Executive Director Andrea Young said, "Reducing the number of days that counties have to certify elections was one of many bad ideas in S.B. 202. Contrary to the realities of election administration, it was put in place to enable the even worse idea of a 4-week runoff period. The constrained certification deadline and 4-week runoff period severely burden local election offices and give voters less time to make their voices heard.”
S.B. 202 also includes other barriers to voters. Until election results are properly and accurately confirmed, voting machines cannot be programmed and absentee ballots cannot be mailed out to voters for a runoff election, making voting by mail nearly impossible, and dramatically reducing the number of days for early voting.
The ACLU of Georgia strongly urges state officials to move back to a 9-week runoff period and change the county certification deadline for elections back to what it was before the enactment of S.B. 202. Local elections offices need time to ensure that election results accurately reflect the will of Georgia voters.