Democrats sue Georgia election officials over lines at polls

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Kelsey Luker reads as she waits in line to vote, Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Atlanta. Luker said she had been in line for almost two hours. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA – Democrats are asking a federal judge to order Georgia election officials to take steps to prevent long lines at the polls on Election Day.

A lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Atlanta alleges that the causes of long lines that have forced Georgians to wait hours to vote during multiple elections, including the June primary, “are directly traceable” to election officials. The lawsuit seeks "to remedy the fundamentally unreasonable conditions that have led, repeatedly, to unconstitutional burdens on countless Georgia voters."

With waits sometimes stretching for hours, Georgia voters have faced some of the longest average wait times in the country to vote since since at least 2008, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit was filed by the Democratic Party of Georgia, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and three Georgia voters against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who's the top elections official in the state, and other state and county election officials.

Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said Raffensperger has been working with county election officials to determine where they might need to add polling places or voting equipment to avoid lines for the November general election.

“We will work around the clock from here through the elections — under the extraordinary circumstances of a pandemic — to ensure that all eligible Georgia voters are informed fully about any polling place changes, that we have enough precincts and poll workers, and that we do everything possible to minimize lines,” she said.

One of the individual voters who brought the suit is a 71-year-old Black woman who lives in Fulton County and tried three times to vote on the day of the June primary but was repeatedly discouraged by long lines, the lawsuit says. She planned to return again but was “exhausted from a full day of working and waiting to vote in the Georgia heat” and ultimately didn't go back, ending up “disenfranchised by the long lines."

The second is a Latina woman who also lives in Fulton County and who applied for an absentee ballot that never arrived. She arrived half an hour before polls opened on June 9 and had to wait in line for six hours before casting her ballot, causing her to have to miss work, the lawsuit says.