The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”), All Voting Is Local Georgia, and SPLC Action Fund sent a letter to Georgia election officials urging them to make a plan immediately for the likelihood that a significant number of voters who requested absentee ballots vote in person. An unprecedented 1.5 million Georgia voters have already requested absentee ballots, and this figure is expected to continue to rise over the coming days and weeks. 1 A significant portion of these voters may decide to vote in person for many reasons, including the following:
1. Some voters who requested an absentee ballot may not receive their absentee ballot in time and may be left with no choice but to vote in person.
2. In light of widely-publicized postal service delays in mail delivery,2 and the recent order of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals providing that any absentee ballot that arrives after the election will be disqualified even if it is postmarked by November 3, 2020, many voters will be concerned that their absentee ballot may not be received by the deadline and will instead choose to vote in person.
3. In light of widespread concerns over significant delays in reporting election results, many voters who had requested or returned absentee ballots may decide to cancel their absentee ballots so they can vote in person and have their vote counted on Election Day.
4. In light of widespread concerns that absentee ballots may be invalidated based on technicalities, which disproportionately affect voters of color, many voters may choose to vote in person notwithstanding the fact that they had requested or returned an absentee ballot.
5. Voters may choose to vote in person if the absentee ballot they received suffers from any of the technical defects that affected ballots during Georgia’s primary, including confusing instructions5 or missing or defective envelopes.
6. Some voters may not be able to confirm whether their absentee ballots are accepted on the “My Voter Page” and will seek to vote in person to ensure that their vote is counted.
Read the full letter here.