Letter to DeKalb and Fulton Counties, SOS, Regarding Illegal Election Day Polling Place Hours
DeKalb and Fulton counties told voters that polling places will close at 7 p.m. on election day. This violates state law which requires that polling places with cities over 300,000 people remain open until 8 p.m. The ACLU of Georgia sent letters to both counties as well as the Secretary of State demanding that this be fixed immediately and publicized widely so that every voter is aware of the voting hours on election day, Tuesday, November 7th.
DeKalb and Fulton County Boards of Registration & Elections had publicized Election Day polling place hours for the City of Atlanta to be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the Secretary of State’s website at the My Voter Page (www.mvp.sos.ga.gov) for individual Atlanta voters.
Closing Atlanta polling places at 7 p.m. on Election Day is illegal. State law requires that polling places for the city of Atlanta be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, which helps to ensure that Atlanta citizens who work late and must struggle to beat Atlanta traffic can exercise their scared and fundamental right to vote.
Because of the size of its population, the City of Atlanta qualifies for the 8 p.m. extension, and thus, the DeKalb and Fulton County polling places that are also located in Atlanta must be open until 8 p.m. on Election Day.
The ACLU of Georgia included the Secretary of State’s Office in this correspondence to the extent that control of the My Voter Page is in the hands of the Secretary of State. Regardless of who has control over the webpage, both the Secretary of State and the county Boards of Registration & Elections are responsible to the voters.
Lastly, the ACLU of Georgia observed that DeKalb and Fulton Counties had different hours for the City of Atlanta during the early voting period, and that Fulton County’s early voting hours included both evening and Sunday hours, which more realistically reflect voters’ needs. The ACLU of Georgia strongly urged DeKalb County to follow Fulton County’s lead in this regard to ensure that all Atlanta citizens are treated equally.
Our democracy is healthier when more voters participate, not fewer.