In the face of unspeakable tragedy, Fair Fight doubles down on efforts to help voters navigate new barriers to the ballot box and ensure the freedom to vote
ATLANTA — Fair Fight—the national voting rights organization founded by Stacey Abrams—today responded to historic turnout among Georgia voters in the May 24 primary election. The record turnout follows years of dedicated organizing by activists on the ground, and suggests voters are more determined than ever to make their voices heard—even as voters participating in early voting experienced a series of problems stemming from anti-voter law SB 202 and the Secretary of State’s continued mishandling of election administration.
Georgia’s primary election day coincided with unspeakable acts of violence in Uvalde, Texas that resulted in the senseless deaths of 19 children and two teachers. Despite overwhelming public support for common sense gun safety laws in both Texas and Georgia, Governors Abbott and Kemp have instead prioritized the gun lobby’s dangerous agenda over the demands, safety, and humanity of their constituents. Republican legislators in both states recently passed unpopular and deeply alarming measures to eliminate background checks and allow individuals to carry firearms without a permit.
“While the record turnout in the Georgia primary provides us with much to be hopeful for, the unspeakable atrocity that took place in Texas has shaken us to our core. This tragedy is a reflection of what happens when people in power care more about kowtowing to special interests than the people they were elected to serve,” said Fair Fight Executive Director Cianti Stewart-Reid. “When there are no words that can do justice in this moment, we seek solace through taking action. Amid this moment of crisis and heartbreak, the team at Fair Fight is clear-eyed in our task ahead: to ensure all eligible voters are able to participate in democracy and elect leaders who share their values and will govern accordingly.”
As Georgians prove more determined than ever to participate in the midterm elections, it is critical that every eligible voter has the opportunity to register to vote, cast their ballot, and ensure that ballot is counted. Fair Fight will continue working to mitigate the harmful impact of SB 202 by helping voters navigate new barriers to the ballot box and advocating for resource-strapped poll workers and election officials.
“Record turnout rates are beyond encouraging, but that does not mean persistent and pervasive voter suppression no longer exists,” said Stewart-Reid. “Let’s be clear: Georgia Republicans have done nothing to contribute to changing the face of the state’s electorate and bringing out record numbers of Black and brown voters to the polls. Any claims otherwise are nothing but a deflection from the Secretary of State’s continued mismanagement of election administration across the state—as was evidenced by the myriad problems experienced by election workers and voters alike over the last few weeks of voting. Fair Fight will continue to educate and empower voters as we work to help Georgians overcome increasingly burdensome barriers to the ballot box and provide resource-strapped election officials with the support they need.”
With the implementation of anti-voter law SB 202, methods of voting that were heavily relied upon in 2020 have become increasingly difficult for voters to navigate. Ahead of Georgia’s May 24 primary election, 42,795 vote-by-mail applications were rejected—a rejection rate seven times higher than in June 2020. More than half were rejected because the application was received too late because of narrowed deadlines mandated by the passage of SB 202.
The May 24 primary saw several other significant statewide issues stemming directly from failed leadership by Georgia Republicans overseeing elections administration. These issues included, but were not limited to:
- Failure by the SoS to provide counties with accurate and timely precinct cards, resulting in confusion among voters who did not receive accurate information on their polling location, or who received no information at all.
- The repeated malfunction of statewide online voter information platforms including eNet and the My Voter Page portal, which prevented voters from accessing reliable information on when, where, and how to vote.
- A lack of economic resources, infrastructure, and training support that left several counties struggling to remedy voting machine malfunctions and other technical issues that prevented polls from opening on time.
- The SoS’s refusal to provide notice to voters who may have faced difficulties updating their voter registration online due to a change in the state’s “automatic” voter registration interface that went unaddressed for 15 months.