ACLU says Georgia's new voting law is a burden for local governments, state officials disagree

Latest election disputes involves delayed certification of DeKalb County’s May 24 primary.
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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger holds a press conference on the status of ballot counting on November 6, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
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The delayed certification of DeKalb County’s May 24 election is proof that Georgia’s new voting law is burdening local officials, the ACLU of Georgia says.

However, state officials disagree with the organization, saying the state’s new election law has no bearing on local elections issues.

Under Senate Bill 202, the Election Integrity Act, election officials have six days to certify a vote, reduced from 10 days under previous law.

The ACLU of Georgia says vote certification delays will likely happen again as more populous counties need more than six days to certify their results. The group wants state leaders to return to the former 10-day certification deadline and return to nine weeks between election and runoff instead of the current four-week period.

"Reducing the number of days that counties have to certify elections was one of many bad ideas in S.B. 202," ACLU of Georgia’s Executive Director Andrea Young said in a statement. "Contrary to the realities of election administration, it was put in place to enable the even worse idea of a 4-week runoff period. The constrained certification deadline and 4-week runoff period severely burden local election offices and give voters less time to make their voices heard."

On May 31, the DeKalb Board of Registration and Election voted to postpone certifying election results for a commission race. DeKalb County officials announced unofficial results on Thursday morning, showing Michelle Long Spears in the lead with about 43% of the vote but shy of the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

The DeKalb County elections board was expected to meet Friday "to consider certifying" the results. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office declined to provide an on-the-record comment to The Center Square despite repeated requests.

"It is incredibly disingenuous to suggest that these local issues had anything to do with the Election Integrity Act which made it easier to vote and hard to cheat," Katie Byrd, Kemp’s communications director, told The Center Square.