The Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger talks to the media in front of old voting machines while waiting for the largest shipment of Georgia’s new secure paper-ballot voting machines at the Dekalb County Voter Registration & Elections offices in Avondale Estates on Monday December 30th, 2019. 2839 units are to be delivered for Dekalb County. (Photo by Phil Skinner).
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bill takes aim at long lines on Election Day in Georgia

A bill backed by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger would require election officials to do something about long lines.

If lines last more than one hour, county election superintendents would have to split up precincts that have more than 2,000 voters, provide additional voting equipment or hire extra poll workers, according to Senate Bill 463.

“The right to vote is a most sacred democratic duty, and one that should not be inhibited by unnecessarily long lines,” Raffensperger said in a statement Friday.

The proposal comes after some voters waited more than three hours during the high-turnout 2018 election for governor. Raffensperger has said voters shouldn’t have to wait more than 30 minutes to vote.

Precinct managers would be required to keep track and report wait times, according to the legislation. Corrections would have to be made before the next general election.

The measure would also change how many touchscreens are needed in precincts.

One touchscreen for every 250 voters would be required in November general elections, but county election officials could choose to provide more or fewer touchscreens during other elections based on expected turnout, early voting and other factors. Under current state law, one touchscreen is required for ever 250 voters in each precinct in all elections.

The bill, co-sponsored by several prominent Republican senators and supported by Raffenpserger, will have to advance through committees relatively quickly if it’s going to become law.

The deadline for bills to pass at least one chamber, either the Senate or the House, is March 12.

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