Press release June 10, 2020
United States: Messy Georgia Primary Should Be a Wake-Up Call before November’s National Elections
Preparations for safe and accessible voting must begin without delay.
In response to numerous problems that emerged during Georgia’s primary elections on June 9, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“There is no excuse for systemically disenfranchising voters,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “Once again, we are seeing lines of American citizens waiting for hours to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Absentee ballots were requested but never delivered. Scores of polling places were shut down. Clearly no lesson has been learned from Wisconsin. We expect record turnout on November 3, and the United States needs to be ready.”
“The elections in Georgia featured a confluence of many problems and should be a wake-up call regarding how much work needs to be done to ensure a credible general election in November. We must especially ensure that we are not disenfranchising citizens from marginalized communities.”
“As we said after the Wisconsin primary debacle in April,” Abramowitz continued, “steps that should be taken to protect elections include mailing a ballot to every registered voter, ensuring ample time for early voting, and creating online voter-registration systems in every state. These kinds of changes require a tremendous amount of time to put in place, so we should begin without delay.”
The US state of Georgia held primary elections on June 9 that were marked by long lines, problems with polling machines, closed polling places, undelivered absentee ballots, and other failures that potentially disenfranchised voters. Earlier, in April, last-minute court rulings required primary elections in Wisconsin to go forward, despite serious public health concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wisconsin elections similarly featured long lines, shortages of poll workers and confusion about the delivery of absentee ballots, which forced some voters to choose between exercising their civic duty and safeguarding their health by remaining at home.
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