For the Senate run-off races, election officials in Cobb County, the state’s third most populous county, plan to open less than half of the early polls that were available during the general election. Voting rights groups said on Monday the changes would hurt black and Latino voters.
Mr Biden won Cobb County, which is part of suburban Atlanta, by 14 percentage points, improving Hillary Clinton’s two-point margin in 2016. But the county plans to open just five offices of early voting for the second round, against 11 to one. of the state’s largest cuts. Almost 400,000 people voted in Cobb County in the general election, many of whom voted in person or by mail.
Janine Eveler, chief electoral officer for Cobb County, said the county had been forced to reduce the number of polling stations due to severe staff shortages. “It was not our desire to reduce the number of early voting places for the second round, but unfortunately it has become a necessity,” she said in a statement.
But Georgia Democrats see partisan politics at stake in a county currently controlled by Republicans. They noted that the closed sites were in predominantly Democratic neighborhoods, including places with large black and Latino populations.
Voting rights and civil rights groups pleaded in a letter to Ms Eveler and other officials to keep the 11 sites open.
“Black and Latinx residents of Georgia are more likely to live in poverty than other residents and will have more difficulty traveling long distances to access advance polling locations, especially due to limited public transportation options in Cobb County, ”the letter reads. “As a result, eliminating advance polls will discourage or prevent many Black and Latinx voters in Cobb County from participating in the run-off election.”
Groups such as the NAACP and Fair Fight Action, the voting rights organization led by Ms Abrams, had offered to help recruit more election workers, but Ms Eveler said there would not be enough time to train them.