By Britney Cao and Rena Abdusalam
ATLANTA – The Cobb County Superior Court, in an emergency ruling, has enabled hundreds of Cobb County voters who requested absentee ballots and have not acquired them to still be able to vote.
The ruling was on a Cook v. Cobb County Board of Elections lawsuit that was initiated by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Georgia, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Dechert LLP. The ruling
The Cobb County Board of Elections will deliver ballots overnight to voters because of the ruling. The voters can mail their provided ballots and be postmarked by 7 p.m. on Nov. 8. The ballots must be received by Nov. 14.
Voters having a personal preference or having not received a ballot from Cobb County in time, in person voting or implementing an emergency federal write-in absentee ballot (“FWAB”) are also offered ballots.
For all concerned voters, also including uniformed and overseas voters, the Cobb County Board of Elections must adhere to lengthening the receipt deadline to Nov. 14. They must provide absentee ballots to be postmarked by 7 p.m. on Nov 8.
To voters that have not sent a ballot or have not voted, the Cobb County Board of Elections must additionally deliver replacement absentee ballots via overnight transportation.
For voters who are affected, there needs to be an immediate notice via email or text to describe options for voting, such as replacement absentee ballots, going directly to voting polls, and a guide on how to view their sample ballots at mvp.sos.ga.gov
The option for FWAB ballots or to vote in person would be provided to impacted voters.
Eligible voters who have not received their absentee ballots or who have not voted, will be assisted by a countywide announcement that guides them to vote in person on Election Day.
Senior Voting Rights Attorney Rahul Garabadu, from ACLU of Georgia, stated, “We are pleased that Cobb County voters who were affected by this issue will have an opportunity to have their voices heard in tomorrow’s election. We will never stop fighting to make sure that eligible voters can participate in their democracy.”
Jonathan Topaz, the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Projects’ Staff Attorney claimed: “This is an important result for these Cobb County voters, who through no fault of their own did not receive the absentee ballots to which they were legally entitled. We will fight to ensure that this agreement is fully enforced and that these voters have the opportunity to exercise their fundamental right to vote in the November election.”
Southern Poverty Law Center’s Senior Staff Attorney for Voting Rights Poy Winichakul said, “We are proud that these Cobb County absentee voters will receive an absentee ballot and can exercise their right to vote. We encourage all voters to complete and return their ballots as fast as they can to make their voice heard for their community.”