While the Georgia Secretary of State and Attorney General fight a lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union brought against them in an attempt to extend voter registration deadlines, the Glynn County Board of Elections will continue to follow normal protocol, local officials said Tuesday.
The ACLU was successful in Florida with similar action when a judge forced counties affected by Hurricane Matthew to extend registration deadlines. The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law was also able to have the deadline extended in Chatham County, but the judge would not apply the extension to other counties in Matthew’s path.
The deadline locally was Oct. 11, but offices were closed as Hurricane Matthew approached late in the week prior.
Ruby Robinson, chairman of the board of elections, said since the deadline has passed, they would be reopening registration, which is more difficult than just extending the deadline. She said they will not be reopening registration unless they are given a court order.
“That’s the law, and we’re sticking with it,” Robinson said.
However, the attorney general’s office contacted elections and registration supervisor Tina Edwards to ask her opinion on whether they would be able to reasonably handle reopening registration now that early voting has started.
“(We would have to) open every portal to registration. The applications we received past the registration date, we would have to process those as well as all the new applications. We would have to deal with people coming in to register,” Edwards said.
She said the elections office would have to process registrations while simultaneously facilitating early voting.
“It would be a lot of late nights, overtime, and we’re still trying to play catch-up after the hurricane,” Edwards said. “That could double what we’ve already processed.”
Edwards also said it could present problems in the form of a backlog of applications. Someone might come in days after they submitted their registration application, but still not be able to vote because their application may not have been processed yet.
“We don’t have the money. Manpower, too. You don’t budget for these kinds of things,” Edwards said.
Right now, Edwards, Robinson and the board are waiting for the judge’s decision. During its meeting Tuesday, the board called an impromptu executive session to discuss the pending litigation with a lawyer from the attorney general’s office.
The board of elections is expecting a decision soon, Robinson said.