The Democratic Party of Georgia and Stacy Abrams’ activist group ‘Fair Fight’ were on different ends of the spectrum following Tuesday’s announcement by the Secretary of State that Georgia will mail every registered voter an absentee ballot for the May 19, 2020 primary election.
The Democratic Party of Georgia responded to the Georgia Secretary of State’s promise to send every voter in Georgia an application to vote by mail for the upcoming primary election.
“This global health emergency showcases exactly why we must embrace solutions that ensure every voter can cast their ballot and have their vote counted without risking their health or that of their loved ones,” said Nikema Williams, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia. “I want to thank the Secretary of State for putting the people before partisanship, and guaranteeing that every Georgian will receive an application to vote by mail for our primary elections. There is still significant work to be done to truly protect the right to vote in Georgia for each and every election, including the 2020 general election, and the Democratic Party of Georgia will continue to advocate for the policy changes needed to expand and protect the franchise on behalf of Georgia voters.”
The Democratic Party of Georgia has worked closely with the Secretary of State throughout this process, and supports the expansion of vote by mail as the strongest way for Georgia voters to cast their ballots without compromising public health.
“I’m glad to see the Secretary of State making this step for Georgians, but let’s be clear: we have a long way to go to truly protect the right to vote long term for our state’s voters, and we should be making this guarantee for elections throughout 2020, not just the summer,” said Scott Hogan, Executive Director of the DPG. “Our team is going to keep fighting for voting reforms that protect and preserve access to the ballot in every election, because our democracy depends on it. Our voter protection team, led by Saira Draper, will continue to be a resource for all Georgians as they cast their ballots, and we will keep organizing, educating, and fighting for a democracy that puts voters first.”
Following the Secretary of State’s announcement, the DPG will continue to advocate for policies that protect voting rights in Georgia, including:
- Automatically sending all registered voters ballots to vote by mail for every election this cycle, including the November General Election
- Prepaying postage for the return of all ballots and applications to vote by mail
- Streamlining the current application to vote by mail to make it easy for voters to complete
- Eliminating the signature requirement from applications to vote by mail
- Allowing voters to elect to receive vote-by-mail ballots for all future elections without having to reapply each time
- Centralizing the issuance, return, and tabulation of vote by mail ballots
- Counting all ballots that are postmarked by Election Day
- Allowing community organizations to collect and deliver completed and sealed ballots
- Maintaining early voting locations and Election Day precincts throughout the state, to ensure that there is an equitable distribution of polling locations and resources
- Allowing voters to vote at any polling location in their county on Election Day, rather than have to go to their assigned precinct.
The Democratic Party of Georgia was the first state party in the nation to have a full time voter protection program, and maintains a 24 hour voter protection hotline to serve all voters in the state. Any Georgia voter can call the hotline for assistance casting their ballot by calling 888-730-581
Fair Fight Action CEO Lauren Groh-Wargo issued the following statement in response to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s inadequate response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
“It is a welcome development that — after Fair Fight Action supporters and allies mobilized — the Secretary of State has decided to send absentee ballot requests to all voters rather than just a select subset of voters that favors his political party. However, Secretary Raffensperger is now asking Georgians who have tested positive for coronavirus or who are at extreme risk for coronavirus to leave their homes and stand in line to buy stamps, rather than him taking the blatantly obvious and stunningly simple step of having the state prepay for return postage. In addition, Secretary Raffensperger is failing to provide the most basic safeguards to help voters who vote by mail, including counting ballots postmarked by Election Day, and allowing community groups to collect and return sealed ballots. He has scratched the surface of doing the right by the voters of Georgia, but in a state that now ranks fourth in coronavirus deaths and where Brian Kemp has failed to protect our people, Secretary Raffensperger has a long way to go to ensure access to our democracy and community safety in voting. We will continue to fight for free and fair elections so that every eligible Georgian can make their voice heard without jeopardizing their health to do so.”