Updated: Mar 1
Georgia NAACP and Black Voters Matter Fund Demand Dougherty and Lowndes County’s Election Office to Fix Long Lines Immediately
ALBANY, GA –– Lowndes County and Dougherty County’s elections officials must do better to ensure all eligible voters, including Black voters, have equitable and fair access to voting. In an unprecedented election season, and after receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants from Center for Tech and Civic Life, there is simply no excuse for Lowndes and Dougherty county officials to not provide enough safe and accessible early voting opportunities for their eligible voting population.
“Under no circumstances should voters be waiting so long in lines that they are fainting and/or leaving. There are police at polls right now arresting people that are trying to make sure voters aren’t deprived of nourishment. Election officials and law enforcement must do better,” said Georgia NAACP State President Rev. James Woodall.
Voters have already borne witness to deep racial disparities with daily long lines. Due to county negligence of only opening one early voting location, a voter in Dougherty County passed out while waiting in an hour-long line to exercise their right to vote, causing other voters around them to also leave the line. Lowndes County has only one early voting location, which is plainly unacceptable. It is essential that these counties make use of the additional funding they have received and ensure that the last days of early in-person voting are more equitable and accessible.
“These are the exact voter suppression tactics that the Georgia NAACP anticipated –– which is why we are fighting every day to make sure voters have the fairest and equal opportunity to vote at the polls.”
In order to guarantee that voters are able to vote without undue burdens, we demand that Dougherty and Lowndes counties immediately implement the following solutions:
Increase the number of e-poll books. Specifically: (1) ensure 1 poll pad for every 600 registered voters, (2) have backup paper poll books, and (3) have technicians from Dominion at every polling location in the county.
Increase the number of emergency paper ballots and commit to using them when lines exceed 30 minutes. This also includes ensuring that poll workers are trained in when and how to use these emergency paper ballots.
Post staff at consolidated precincts directing voters to the right place (or at least have clear signage), and (2) have staff walk the lines to ensure voters are in the right place and correct line.
Prepare a trained backup staff of poll workers ready to deploy to any precinct with a shortage.
We have already seen the result of inadequate preparation for an election year that continues to break turnout records. Lowndes and Dougherty county’s Boards of Elections must act immediately to ensure these wrongs are corrected and alleviated by Election Day. There is no excuse. Every voter must have access to a fair, equitable, and safe voting experience,” concluded Black Voters Matter Fund national legal director April England-Albright.
About Georgia NAACP
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has had an unbroken presence in Georgia since 1917. The Georgia NAACP maintains a network of units throughout Georgia, from cities to small rural counties. The Georgia NAACP has been the most effective and consistent advocate for African American civil rights in Georgia. You can read more about the Georgia NAACP’s work and mission at naacpga.org.
About Black Voters Matter Fund
Black Voters Matter Fund, a 501c4, and Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute, a 501c3, are dedicated to expanding Black voter engagement and increasing progressive power through movement-building and engagement. Working with grassroots organizations, specifically in key states in the South, BVM seeks to increase voter registration and turnout, advocate for policies to expand voting rights/access, and help develop infrastructure where little or none exists to support a power-building movement that keeps Black voters and their issues at the forefront of our election process. For more information, please visit blackvotersmatterfund.org.