Dear Editor: According to the preamble of the Election Integrity Act passed this year by the Georgia Legislature, the law will “make voting easier, and make it harder to cheat.”
There is no evidence of wide scale voter cheating in Georgia, so let’s hope that the law prevents it in the future. But I believe that the legislature failed in the attempt to make voting easier. This is because the law restricts the time and manner for requesting and mailing in absentee ballots, and reduces the convenience of the very popular drop boxes. The legislature did add one day to early voting, including a mandate for two Saturdays for early voting, with an option for two Sundays of early voting at the discretion of the county. Perhaps these changes were intended to make up for the tighter restrictions on mail-in ballots and drop box access.
Extending the weekend times to vote to include the two optional Sundays will help achieve the intent of the law to make voting easier. Many people work Mondays through Saturdays. With drop box access restricted only to normal work hours and mail-in ballot times severely limited, Sundays may be the only times that some voters can cast their ballots directly. Sundays are also a time that many African Americans cast ballots after Sunday religious services through the “souls to the polls” tradition.
Failure to allow the optional Sunday voting will not meet the intent of the law to make voting easier for many citizens, including our African American community. I hope that Madison County makes the best decision to allow all lawful opportunities for our citizens to vote.