Changes to Georgia’s voting laws cut length of advance voting period
This past summer the Georgia state legislature passed H.B. 92, effectively shortening the length of time Georgia voters can cast early ballots from 45 days to 21 days. The law also requires polls be open at least one Saturday prior to the general or primary election where a federal office is up for grabs. However, if no federal offices are included in the election, localities are not required to maintain Saturday voting hours. Passage of this new bill raises the unique question of whether a reduction in this voting period will amount to a significant burden for Georgians attempting to exercise their franchise before election day?
The law is one of many similar bills across the country, potentially signaling a significant push back in the recent growth of advance voting and no-fault absentee voting. Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia have all passed laws reducing early voting period. Further, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, and North Carolina all recently considered similar legislation. These legislative changes have garnered the attention of the Brennan Center for Justice, a non-partisan public policy and legal think tank at the New York University School of Law, ultimately raising concerns that such enactments may serve as a step backwards for election administration. Conversely, many state legislatures proffered economic hardship and potential savings as the rationale and necessity for such laws. [Read more…] about Get to the polls early…well, not that early