A Georgia Superior Court judge has ordered Cobb County to extend its deadline for accepting mail-in ballots in the US Senate runoff after a lawsuit alleging scores of voters who requested mail-in ballots had not received them.
The lawsuit, filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU, cited specific examples of voters who requested absentee ballots before the Nov. 26 deadline but still hadn’t received their ballots.
The court ordered Cobb County to extend the deadline for receiving absentee ballots to December 9, provided ballots are postmarked by 7 p.m. on Election Day. It also directed the district to post a notice on its website saying all voters who have not yet received a postal ballot can vote in person at their assigned polling station on Election Day.
“A delay in mailing absentee ballots to voters who requested them in a timely manner may violate the plaintiffs’ (and any other affected voters) right to vote under the Georgia Constitution,” Judge Kellie Hill wrote.
Cobb County, which includes much of Atlanta’s northern suburbs, is a densely populated area of northwest Georgia. The city’s outer northern suburbs have historically reported Republican, but many of those areas, such as parts of Cobb, have veered toward Democrats in recent years.
The judge found that Cobb County denied that the ballots were not distributed on time. The county claimed that ballot applications received before November 26 were properly processed and that ballots were issued or mailed “as soon as reasonably practicable after their eligibility was determined” and that for applications received after that date, ballots were received “within three days of receipt.” a timely application”.
Poy Winichakul, senior voting rights attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center, commended the decision in a statement, writing, “We encourage all Georgia communities to stand up for their voting rights by exercising them and voting in person or personally delivering their absentee ballots, to make sure their voices are heard.”
Georgian Foreign Minister Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, called the court’s order a “terrible idea” and wrote in a statement that “last-minute changes are unfair, create confusion (which only leads to more judges trying to minute more to make changes) and gives fodder to those unwilling to accept the election results.”