ACLU of Georgia

Cook v. Cobb County BOE / Crowell et al v. Cobb County BOE

In November 2022, The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (ACLU of Georgia)American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Dechert LLP filed a lawsuit seeking emergency relief so that hundreds of Cobb County absentee voters will have enough time to cast their votes, after county officials failed to send the ballots in violation of Georgia law.

The lawsuit sought to send ballots overnight to hundreds of voters who still need their absentee ballots and move the deadline from 7 p.m. on Election Day to November 14, which is the same deadline for absentee voters in the military and overseas.

Under state law, Board of Election officials must send out absentee ballots within three business days of processing an application, but Cobb County elections officials failed to send requested absentee ballots to more than a thousand voters who requested them weeks ago. State data shows that up to 250 of the affected absentee voters have voted in person, which still leaves hundreds of voters in need of the absentee ballots they requested. Days out from Election Day, this large group of voters who need an absentee ballot did not received one.

Part two of this litigation was filed in December 2022 after the Cobb County Board of Elections failed to send ballots to voters for the second time this election cycle. This latest litigation sought to: extend the deadline for receipt of ballots to Dec. 9, the same as for military and overseas ballots; allow voters who have not received a ballot for Georgia’s Senate runoff by Dec. 6 to use a federal write-in absentee ballot; and for Cobb County to notify voters of these changes.

Background:

Prior to SB 202, the state’s sweeping anti-voter law passed after the 2020 election, voters could request an absentee ballot 180 days before an election and the county could mail out the ballots 49 days before an election. SB 202 slashed those numbers by about half to 78 and 29 days, respectively. These shortened windows have unnecessarily burdened elections officials and absentee voters.

Under state law, election officials must send absentee ballots within three business days of receiving an application, but the Cobb County Board of Elections failed to send requested ballots to thousands 0f voters.