ACLU Accuses Georgia of Running a Poll Tax

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) this week filed a federal lawsuit against Georgia election officials claiming that requiring residents to pay the postage to vote by mail in is an unconstitutional poll tax because it forces voters to pay to cast a ballot.

Georgia’s May 19 presidential primary election will rely heavily on voting by mail because of health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Ballot postage will cost voters at least 55 cents for a first-class stamp, or more for longer and heavier ballots.

According to Bloomberg:

The complaint, filed on behalf of the Black Voters Matter Fund, compared the stamp requirement to a poll tax, the outlawed practice that for decades kept many African-Americans from voting. The ACLU said in its suit that Georgia, which is holding its primary on May 19, can easily move to prepaid mail-in ballots, noting the use of postage-free mailings for other purposes in the state.

As previously reported on Conduit StreetGovernor Larry Hogan ordered the special general election to fill the late Rep. Elijah Cummings’s congressional seat in Maryland’s Seventh District be conducted via mail. Hogan also postponed Maryland’s presidential primary due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

As health officials warn that social distancing and other measures to contain the COVID-19 epidemic might be in place months, the Maryland State Board of Elections (SBE) voted to ban any in-person voting for the special general election on April 28 and last week submitted a proposal to Governor Hogan that includes limited in-person voting for the June 2 presidential primary election.

Maryland will include prepaid postage with the ballots that will be sent to every one of the state’s more than 4 million voters.

Useful Links

Bloomberg: It’s Only 55 Cents, But ACLU Says Georgia Is Running a Poll Tax

Conduit Street Podcast: Holding Elections Amid a Pandemic

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: States Turn to Election Security Funds to Cover COVID-19 Costs

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Governor Hogan Postpones Presidential Primary Election Amid Coronavirus Epidemic

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: MACo Compiles List of Local Resources During COVID-19 Response

For up-to-date information and state resources regarding coronavirus, including confirmed case counts and clinician guidance, visit http://health.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

Close Menu
%d bloggers like this: