The League of Women Voters slammed legislation Tuesday requested by small cities to shorten early-voting periods from 21 days to six, including one Saturday. Cities complain that staffing three people as poll workers for days when almost no one shows up to vote is too costly for local taxpayers, according to Tom Gehl, a lobbyist for the Georgia Municipal Association. “The requirement that they stay open can be really expensive, especially with a part-time staff,” he said. That argument doesn’t wash with Elizabeth Poythress, president of the League of Women Voters of Georgia.
“At what price is it worth disenfranchising eligible Georgians to participate in their own self government?” she asked. “This bill would be a giant step backwards for the election process in Georgia. It is an obvious attempt to limit voting and a clear byproduct of the controversial Supreme Court decision to eliminate prior approval of changes to election laws in Georgia under the Voting Rights Act.”
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that Georgia no longer has to seek federal approval before changing its election laws, although those changes still must conform to the federal Voting Rights Act that protects minority voters.