A bill advancing in the Georgia Legislature would reduce voting hours in the city of Atlanta and limit early voting on Sundays.
The legislation would force Atlanta’s polls to close at 7 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. and allow voting in advance of Election Day on only one Saturday or Sunday. The House Governmental Affairs Committee approved the legislation, Senate Bill 363, on Wednesday. The committee’s five Democrats opposed the bill, while the committee’s majority Republicans all supported it, though a hand count of “yes” votes wasn’t taken. The bill was filed by Republican Sen. Matt Brass after Democratic Sen. Jen Jordan won a special election in December to represent a district that covers parts of Atlanta and Cobb County. Voting in Cobb County ended at 7 p.m., an hour earlier than in Atlanta.
“One person should not be allowed to vote one hour longer than another person,” said Brass, R-Newnan.
Democratic legislators opposing the bill said it’s designed to suppress voter turnout.
“The impact of this bill is to eliminate the extra hour of voting opportunity that’s been granted to city of Atlanta voters,” said Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur. “So this is anti-voting rights for Atlanta.”