Election Day in Georgia brings mass confusion, long lines
LANSING–Voters Not Politicians, the grassroots, nonpartisan group that ended gerrymandering in Michigan, today issued a warning in advance of the August and November Michigan elections urging state and local lawmakers to expand authority and resources to clerks to administer elections amid a public health crisis.
“We don’t know where we will be in August when it comes to the public health response to the pandemic,” said Nancy Wang, Executive Director of Voters Not Politicians (VNP). “What we do know is that our elected leaders can take action now to ensure that no voter is denied their constitutional right to have their voices heard.”
The response comes amid reports of mass confusion, long lines, and a lack of ballots and voting machines in polling places across the state of Georgia. Many voters also never received an absentee ballot despite requesting one. Election officials in Georgia acknowledge that these barriers have been issues in the past, but are exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak.
“Right now, we are seeing a public health crisis turn into a democracy crisis,” said Wang. “No one should have to choose between their health and exercising their right to vote. Voting by mail can save lives. Leaders in Michigan and across the country must act right now to prevent these types of barriers that disenfranchise voters – particularly voters of color.”
Voters Not Politicians recently launched their VoteSafe campaign to urge the state Legislature to grant the Secretary of State and local clerks the authority and resources necessary to mail absentee ballots – not just applications – to every registered voter in Michigan. VNP also calls for legislation to allow clerks to begin processing ballots prior to Election Day, particularly in light of the upward trend of absentee voting in Michigan, even before the pandemic.
“Study after study has shown that a supermajority of voters across the political spectrum support vote at home reforms, particularly in response to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Wang. “This should be a nonpartisan issue. That’s why Voters Not Politicians is working to ensure that every voter in Michigan has a safe, secure way to cast their ballot that will save everyone time and money.”
With polls closed at 7:00 p.m. EDT in Georgia, the controversy has already drawn national – and celebrity – attention, with storied NBA player LeBron James posting on Twitter: “Everyone talking about ‘how do we fix this?’ They say ‘go out and vote?’ What about asking if how we vote is also structurally racist?” Some counties have extended voting hours to 9:00 p.m. EDT to account for widespread election issues.
Voters Not Politicians is a nonpartisan advocacy organization that works to strengthen democracy by engaging people across Michigan in effective citizen action. Learn more at www.votersnotpoliticians.com.