State of Georgia

Georgia Cobb County Absentee Ballots Challenge

Cook v. Cobb County Board of Elections & Registration

Lawsuit filed on behalf of three college-age voters, a 64-year-old woman residing outside of Cobb County to take care of her elderly mother and the Cobb County Democracy Center against the Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration and its members, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) and the Georgia State Election Board and its members. The plaintiffs allege that they did not receive their absentee ballots as requested and, in total, “approximately 1,036 absentee ballots marked as issued on October 13, 2022, and October 22, 2022, had never been mailed due to staff error.” Notably, for the plaintiffs to get to Cobb County to vote in person on Election Day, they would need to travel between 400-4,200 miles roundtrip. The plaintiffs argue that the defendants’ failure to provide them with their absentee ballots in a timely manner violates their fundamental right to vote under the Georgia Constitution and, absent relief, “these voters will likely not be able to participate in the November 8, 2022 general election despite properly registering to vote, requesting their absentee ballot by the absentee ballot request deadline, and often contacting the Cobb Board multiple times on their own.” During an emergency hearing on Monday, Nov. 7, Cobb County, Georgia agreed to take immediate action so that over 1,000 voters who didn’t receive their requested absentee ballots are still able to vote in this year’s midterm elections. Under the terms of the consent order, Cobb County agreed to overnight absentee ballots and extend the ballot receipt deadline for the affected voters to Nov. 14. 

On Dec. 1, the plaintiffs asked to file a supplemental complaint requesting relief for the Dec. 6 Senate runoff election after it became apparent that the county “failed to timely send absentee ballots to more than 3,400 voters whose absentee ballots had been marked as issued on November 23, 2022.” The plaintiffs ask Cobb County to extend the absentee ballot receipt deadline for affected voters to Dec. 9, allow voters who have not yet received their ballots to use a federal write-in absentee ballot and notify voters of these changes. On Dec. 2, the court granted the plaintiffs’ requested relief. Now, affected voters will have until Dec. 9 to return their absentee ballots so long as they are postmarked by Election Day.

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