ATLANTA — Today, Fair Fight joined the call urging Cobb County elections officials to reverse reductions in early voting locations. Cobb County announced plans to reduce the number of Early Voting locations by more than half, eliminating six of 11 locations for the January 5 runoff elections. Senior Advisor Lauren Groh-Wargo released the following statement:
“In an election that is sure to see high turnout and high voter enthusiasm, this is unacceptable. In the November election, voters faced unacceptably long wait times. Cobb County had the longest early voting wait times in the state, a burden that is sure to repeat given the elimination of more than half of the locations. Fair Fight calls on Cobb County elections officials to reverse these reductions and ensure their voters have access to sufficient Early Voting locations with consistent voting hours.
As with so many barriers to voting, Black voters in particular faced these long waits. In the current plan, the only early vote location in Smyrna, where the share of Black voters is six points higher than the county overall, will be closed. Nearly 18,000 votes were cast at this location during the general election. Cobb County must take action and follow the example of neighboring counties, retaining at least the number of Early Vote sites they offered during the November election and ensuring that Early Voting locations are open with consistent voting hours across locations and across days. The proposed 5 locations are an unacceptable reduction that will exacerbate wait times, confuse voters, and fail to provide Cobb County voters with equitable voting access in the January runoffs. Cobb County elections officials must do better and live up to their responsibility to their voters.”
Cobb is the state’s third-largest county. Once a Republican bastion, it now leans significantly Democratic. Other large Metro counties have maintained their number of early voting locations. Unless Cobb County changes course, the counties’ voters will see even more burdensome lines beginning December 14 when early voting opens statewide.