For the Senate runoff races, election officers in Cobb County, the state’s third most populous county, are planning to open fewer than half of the early voting areas that had been out there within the common election. Voting rights teams mentioned on Monday that the modifications would hurt Black and Latino voters.
Mr. Biden gained Cobb County, a part of the Atlanta suburbs, by 14 share factors, enhancing on Hillary Clinton’s two-point margin in 2016. However the county is planning to open solely five early voting locations for the runoffs, down from 11, one of many largest such reductions within the state. Practically 400,000 folks voted in Cobb County within the common election, many by way of early in-person or mail-in voting.
Janine Eveler, the director of elections in Cobb County, mentioned that the county was compelled to chop again on polling areas due to extreme staffing shortages. “It was not our want to scale back the variety of early voting areas for the runoff, however, sadly, it turned a necessity,” she mentioned in a press release.
However Georgia Democrats see partisan politics at play in a county that’s at present managed by Republicans. They famous that the areas that had been closed had been in largely Democratic neighborhoods, together with locations with giant Black and Latino populations.
Voting rights and civil rights teams pleaded in a letter to Ms. Eveler and other officials to maintain all 11 websites open.
“Georgia’s Black and Latinx residents usually tend to stay in poverty than different residents and can have extra problem touring lengthy distances to entry advance voting areas, particularly due to the restricted public transportation choices in Cobb County,” the letter mentioned. “In consequence, the elimination of advance voting areas will discourage or stop a lot of Cobb County’s Black and Latinx voters from collaborating within the runoff election.”
Teams together with the N.A.A.C.P. and Honest Battle Motion, the voting rights group led by Ms. Abrams, had supplied to assist recruit extra election employees, however Ms. Eveler mentioned there wouldn’t be sufficient time to coach them.