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ACLU sues over postage requirement for absentee voting in Georgia
absentee ballots
Voters are being mailed applications to vote absentee in the May 19, 2020, primary. - photo by FCN regional staff Shannon Casas

Those interested in voting absentee in Georgia must provide their own postage, and a lawsuit was filed Wednesday over the constitutionality of that practice.

The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Georgia filed the federal lawsuit April 8 on behalf of Black Voters Matter.

The ACLU is seeking a preliminary injunction to require election officials to provide prepaid returnable envelopes for absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots. 

Hall  and Forsyth counties allows voters to scan their applications and return them via email. It was not immediately clear whether that was available statewide.

“Many lower-income voters do not have postage stamps. They no longer need to use them or have never needed to use them. They cannot be expected to needlessly expose themselves to the pandemic just to get stamps in order to vote,” according to the lawsuit. “That assumes they can even get there, when many do not have cars and ride-sharing and public transportation is non-existent in rural parts of the state.”

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office declined to comment Wednesday afternoon.

Although in-person voting will still be held for the May 19 primary, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office is mailing every voter an absentee ballot application so voters can cast their ballots by mail if they would prefer to stay away from the polls during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because of the pandemic, the number of voters who mail in ballots will skyrocket,” Sean Young, legal director of the ACLU of Georgia, said in a statement. “It is all the more imperative that unconstitutional barriers like this poll tax be removed immediately.”

Black Voters Matter v. (Georgia Secretary of State Brad) Raffensperger was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division.  

See original story from the Gainesville Times here.