Groups sue four Georgia counties over early voting

Voting rights groups have filed lawsuits against four Georgia counties for failing to offer sufficient early voting for the Jan. 5 runoff election.

The New Georgia Project and Democracy Docket say Bibb, Clarke, Houston and Paulding counties are not offering early voting on a Saturday during three weeks of early voting, which they say is required by state law. Bibb also will not offer early voting on Dec. 31.

But election officials have said state law requires weekend voting only for a primary or general election, not for a runoff.

Runoff voters will decide who will represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate - changing or maintaining the balance of power in the body - and a Public Service Commission seat.

In a release announcing the lawsuits, the voting rights groups said the lack of early voting “threatens to disenfranchise voters in this critical election.”

The lawsuits were filed in the superior courts of the respective counties this week. They seek emergency orders forcing the counties to offer additional early voting.

The groups said several other counties also are not offering the required number of early voting days, and they are prepared to file additional lawsuits.