Election Day Must Remain on May 19th Declare Concerned Citizens and Voting Rights Advocates

Posted on by GoVote Georgia Staff

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Adam Sweat

asweat@progeorgia.org, 678-951-2172

Election Day Must Remain on May 19th Declare Concerned Citizens and Voting Rights Advocates

Friday, March 27, 2020 (Atlanta, GA) – Responding to House Speaker David Ralston’s request that Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger move the May 19 election until at least June 23, ProGeorgia and its affiliates issued the following statement:

“On March 14, 2020, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger made the wise decision to postpone voting in the March 24, 2020 presidential preference primary until May 19th in the interest of public health because of the emerging COVID-19 crisis.  Since that time, plans have been made by the Secretary of State and county election officials to move forward with the presidential preference primary, the local, county and Congressional primaries, and nonpartisan general elections on May 19th. In fact, vote by mail absentee ballots are already scheduled to be mailed out beginning on March 31 to voters who request them. 

“We are unaware of any evidence establishing that the COVID-19 public health emergency will be over by June 23, 2020 or by any specific time frame this summer that would justify making yet another change in the election calendar. Delaying our primary again – or placing a moving target on elections – until this summer increases the risk that Georgia’s voters may not have their voices heard or their votes fully counted in enough time to participate in the Republican or Democratic National Conventions this summer.

“Moving the May 19th elections to June 23rd as suggested by Speaker Ralston should not be an option at this time because of the lack of evidence that the COVID-19 crisis will be resolved by that time and the substantial likelihood that another change in the election schedule will create confusion among voters and lead to reduced turnout.

 “Therefore, we are calling upon Secretary Raffensperger to proceed with the timely administration of our primary elections on May 19th and to ensure that integrity and transparency are maintained throughout this process.

About ProGeorgia

ProGeorgia is a bold, trusted, and diverse collaborative that champions an equitable and inclusive democracy, for and with traditionally underrepresented communities. ProGeorgia 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.

Voting Rights Advocates Call on Georgia Election Officials to Protect Voters’ Rights in the Wake of Postponing the Presidential Primary Election

Posted on by GoVote Georgia Staff

Monday, March 16, 2020 (Atlanta, GA) – ProGeorgia, a group of community-based, civic engagement organizations, called on Georgia election officials to protect voters’ rights in the wake of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger’s announcement that the presidential primary election would be moved from March 24th to May 19th. 

The groups said: “The Secretary of State’s decision to move the presidential preference primary to May 19th, which was informed by important public health concerns emanating from the spread of COVID-19, has significant ramifications for Georgia voters. Moving an election midstream, when hundreds of thousands of Georgians have already cast ballots during early voting, is not an easy endeavor in the best of circumstances.  In these challenging times, Georgia election officials are going to have to make difficult decisions and change their processes in order to properly implement this unprecedented change. The devil is in the details, and we are concerned that many voters’ rights will be at risk if Georgia election officials fail to address critical issues in implementing such a significant change in the middle of an election period.

“Postponing the election does not diminish the State’s obligation to ensure that voters have adequate accessible and available means to vote.  There are concrete steps that Georgia election officials can take immediately to protect the right to vote in the consolidated May 19th primary election.  We recommend that the State increase the time to request and return vote by mail ballots, work with local election officials to educate voters and poll workers, offer more flexible methods for return and collection of ballots based on the potential for postal service delays and reduced staffing, and extend voter registration opportunities to ensure all eligible voters can participate.

“To ensure a successful and inclusive election, we call on Georgia election officials to employ an open and transparent process that allows all voices to be heard and protects voters’ rights during the May 19th primary.  We are deeply committed to seeing Georgia through a safe and complete primary election process, and welcome the opportunity to work with state and local election officials to ensure that all Georgians have a full and fair chance to exercise their right to vote.”

The following ProGeorgia members have joined ProGeorgia in calling on the Secretary of State to protect voters’ rights: ACLU of Georgia, All Voting is Local – Georgia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Common Cause GA, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO), Georgia Coalition for People’s Agenda, Georgia NAACP, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the League of Women Voters Georgia, Inc, and State Voices.

About ProGeorgia
ProGeorgia is a bold, trusted, and diverse collaborative that champions an equitable and inclusive democracy, for and with traditionally underrepresented communities. ProGeorgia 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.

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