Georgia House Republicans Seek to Limit Early Voting in Municipal Elections
(APN) ATLANTA — In another apparent attempt to disenfranchise voters, House Republicans are attempting to enact HB 891, which would shrink the early voting period from three weeks to just six days for all municipal elections, primaries, and run-offs.
Currently, the early voting period is the same for all Georgia elections, about three weeks. HB 891 would create two separate provisions for early voting: one for state, county, and federal elections; and one for municipal elections.
Under HB 891, the municipal early voting period would begin on “the second Saturday immediately prior to each primary or election” and end “on the Friday immediately prior to each primary, election, or runoff.”
Touted as a cost-savings bill, HB 891 has been referred to the House Government Affairs Committee, and could move through the Chamber at the speed of light.
In response, the League of Women Voters Georgia has put out an Action Alert for tomorrow, Monday, February 17, 2014, at 2pm. The bill will be heard by the Government Affairs Committee in the Coverdell Legislative Building, room 406.
According to the Action Alert, the LWV states that keeping early voting at the three week mark provides a return on investment by reducing stress on the voting system on Election Day, alleviating long lines at the polls, improved poll worker performance, allowing early identification and correction of registration errors and voting system glitches, and providing greater access and increased voter satisfaction, citing the Brennan Center, a nonpartisan group that focuses on fundamental issues of democracy and justice.
“The claim that this is a cost savings bill is not bona fide, there is no rationale at all. I have yet to see a study that shows where the cost savings would be for HB 891,” Elizabeth Poythress, President of the League of Women Voters Georgia, told Atlanta Progressive News.
“This bill would disenfranchise the poor, the elderly, and disabled. They are the target of this bill. Voting needs to be fair and accessible for all Georgians. Limiting the time on early voting would limit the amount of voters at the polls,” Poythress told APN.
HB 891 is co-sponsored by State Reps. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem), Buzz Brockway (R-Lawrenceville), Andrew Welch (R-McDonough), Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), Mark Hamilton (R-Cumming), and Ben Harbin (R-Evans).
The Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda has also sent an Action Alert to its members. The Alerts ask progressive activists to call and/or email the members of the Committee:
Rep. Amy Carter
Phone: (404) 656-6801
Rep. Buzz Brockway
Rep. Darlene Taylor
Rep. Tyrone Brooks
Rep. Barry Fleming
Rep. Hugh Floyd
Rep. Mark Hamilton
Rep. Dustin Hightower
Rep. Rusty Kidd
Rep. John Meadows
Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan
Rep. Howard Mosby
Rep. Larry O’Neal
Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver
Rep. Alan Powell
Rep. Jay Powell
Rep. Bruce Williamson