It’s been a major conflict in the voting wars: Across the South and country, Republican-led states have moved to shrink the early voting period before Election Day. But this week, voting rights advocates scored a key victory in a state where the GOP enjoys a strong majority. On Thursday, March 20, the Georgia House declined to pass HB 891, a measure that would have allowed more than 500 cities and towns to reduce early voting from three weeks to one week. The bill applied only to municipal elections, but it was considered an important test of support for efforts to reduce early voting in state and county contests in the future. But after passing the state Senate by a 36-16 margin, HB 891 died in the House as the General Assembly closed its 2014 session, ensuring that Georgia won’t see any restrictions to early voting until the issue is taken up again in 2015.
Leaders at the League of Women Voters in Georgia and other groups that fought the bill chalk up the victory to a mix of savvy advocacy in the General Assembly and a wide mobilization of support from civil rights, faith and other coalition allies.
As in many states, early voting has been popular in Georgia, especially among historically disenfranchised voters. In 2012, 34 percent of those casting ballots during early voting were African-American; overall, 1.9 million Georgians used early voting that year. Local election officials were also concerned about longer lines and growing pressure on voting sites in the remaining days.
Full Article: Move to slash early voting defeated in Georgia.