Georgia Republicans want to limit early voting so that no county can offer it on both on a Saturday and a Sunday. Democrats are outraged; they say the plan is designed to help GOP candidates. “They’re targeting likely Democratic voters to stifle the opportunity to cast a ballot,” said Sen. Lester Jackson, a Savannah Democrat and the chairman of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus. “Working-class Georgians need opportunities to participate in the governmental process.” Under a bill sponsored by Sen. Matt Brass, R-Newnan, counties would only be able to offer early voting on weekdays and one weekend day. County officials would get to choose whether the polls would be open on one Saturday or one Sunday, but not both.
In addition to four weeks of weekday early voting opportunities, each of Georgia’s 159 counties is currently required to offer early voting on at least one Saturday. Some counties, though, have recently started offering early voting on both Saturdays and Sundays ahead of a single election.
Before the 2016 presidential general election, 10 counties let voters cast ballots early on at least one Saturday and Sunday, including counties with large urban populations in Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus and Savannah, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. Hillary Clinton won all but two of those counties, although Donald Trump won the state by about 5 percentage points.