Georgia’s May 24 primary witnessed historic levels of voter turnout and strong Democratic enthusiasm despite having no competitive races at the top of the ticket. This 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 experienced a series of problems stemming from anti-voter law SB 202 and the Secretary of State’s continued mishandling of election administration.
The high voter turnout rates are also a reflection of the ongoing efforts of local activists who have been working tirelessly to mitigate the harmful impacts of SB 202—many of which were on display during the May 24 primary.
The bottom line? The May 24 Georgia primary saw several significant statewide issues that were the result of the failed Republican leadership overseeing elections administration. These issues included, but were not limited to:
1. The Secretary of State’s Office sent delayed, incorrect, or no precinct cards whatsoever to counties to send to their voters, who rely on these cards for polling location information.
- This has often been due to belated redistricting updates, which is the Secretary of State’s duty to oversee and ensure are timely.
- This ineptitude led to polling location confusion among voters across the state, in both blue and red counties.
- At a minimum, DeKalb, Fulton, Cherokee and Cobb Counties experienced issues with voters at the incorrect polling locations. This is particularly troublesome as SB 202 significantly limits voters’ ability to cast out-of-precinct provisional ballots.
2. Statewide online voter information platforms run by the Secretary of State’s Office, including eNet and the My Voter Page portal, malfunctioned for days and sometimes weeks at a time during the early voting period and leading up to May 24.
- Voters were unable to access reliable information about where, when, and how to vote. Once again, this is particularly troubling due to restrictions on out-of-precinct provisional ballots.
- The SOS indicated an expired “website certification” had led to some of the eNet outages that occurred. Other than that, the office provided no public response.
3. Lack of economic resources, infrastructure, and training support from the State left several counties with voting machine and other technical issues thatdelayed voting start times.
- Voters had to wait in long lines, return to the polls later, or were unable to vote.
- Chatham, Bibb, Fulton, DeKalb and Cobb Counties experienced delays in polling location openings or for ballot submissions due to technology issues with voting machines or scanning machines.
4. The Secretary of State continues to refuse to provide notice to voters who may have faced difficulties in updating their voter registration over the course of 15+ months due to a change in the state’s “automatic” voter registration interface.
- Voters who believe they have correctly updated their registration through DDS may be prohibited from voting.
- The Secretary of State gave an open refusal to provide voters with necessary, available information.
5. Voters who fall victim to any of the above sources of incorrect information about where they should go to vote and cast their vote by provisional ballot before 5:00pm will not have their vote counted, greatly limiting their access to the ballot.
6. SB 202 significantly burdens voters who wish to vote by mail by shortening the request and return periods and imposing new wet signature and ID requirements.
- Ahead of Tuesday’s primary election, 2,795 applications were rejected (2.89% of total applications). This rate is seven times higher than in June 2020 (the rate was 0.42%)
- 14% of rejected applications have been rejected for ID or DOB issues, 2% were rejected because the application was received too early, and 51% because the application was received too late — the deadline to request a ballot was Friday 5/13 (which is 5 days sooner than was supported in 2020, due to the 2021 passage of SB 202)
- In the municipal elections of 2021, only 39% of voters whose applications were rejected voted successfully. That means 61% of voters whose applications were rejected in the ‘21 election were unable to successfully cast a ballot in the municipal elections.
7. Voters of color were disproportionately affected by high vote-by-mail application rejection rates. Black voters represented 32% of applications, but 44.7% of those whose applications were rejected.
- Statewide avg application rejection rate: 2.98%
- White: 2.22%
- Black: 4.17%
- Hispanic/Latino: 5.28%
- AAPI: 5.91%
Instead of responding to these myriad needs, Brad Raffensperger has spent this election cycle patting himself on the back for the tireless work of local elections administrators across the state, and repetitiously insisting that Georgia pass an unneeded, xenophobic constitutional amendment limiting voting in the state to citizens—which is already Georgia law.