Rejection of 1,200 Absentee Ballots in Georgia Prompts Legal Responses from Advocacy Groups
Voting rights advocates are mounting legal challenges against state and local officials in Atlanta following the rejection of more than 1,200 absentee ballots.
The Washington Post reported last night that the ballots were rejected statewide, with the highest concentration of rejected ballots coming from Gwinnett County in Northeast Atlanta, where officials rejected 465 ballots.
The officials pointed to incorrect birth years, signatures not matching those held on file and missing addresses as reasons for the ballot rejections.
For Gwinnett County, the rejected ballots could have a significant impact on the election. According to Politically Georgia, almost 1 in 10 vote-by-mail ballots have been rejected in the county. Minority communities, including African American, Latino and Asian American voters have been disproportionately affected by the ballot rejections.
With just three weeks to go before the midterms, putting the burden on voters to reapply for an absentee ballot could result in many of the 1,200 rejected voters not casting their votes on election day.
Across the state, absentee ballots have increased. The hotly contested race between Democrat Stacy Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp has led to heightened voter interest. The state had already reported receiving twice as many absentee ballots in 2018 than it did in 2016.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against state officials on Tuesday. Its executive director of the Georgia chapter, Andrea Young, spoke to the Washington Post.
She said, “this is an unprecedented number of disqualifications, and it’s happening in a county where there are a number of contested races that have minority candidates on the ballot”.
State officials remain adamant they were acting in compliance with state regulations. Joe Sorenson, a county spokesman for Gwinnett County told Politically Georgia, “I can’t draw any conclusions… I just know that we’re doing this according to state law”.
The news of the rejected ballots came just days after the Associated Press reported that more than 50,000 voter registration applications were rejected under arbitrary Republican-backed laws that require the personal information provided to identically match those on government records.
Several voter advocacy groups, including the Coalition for the People’s Agenda, filed lawsuits with the state of Georgia last week over the issue.