OUR VIEW: Weekend voting complicated, but timeline, not holiday voting, is problem

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, November 16, 2022

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Statewide there’s a lot of discussion about early voting for the upcoming run-off elections. 

Georgia’s new election law, known as SB202, provides the earlier timeline for run-off elections. Another bill, previously passed, prohibits Saturday voting right after a holiday.

That means there will only be five days of early voting in Troup County before the Dec. 6 run-off, pending something changing over the next few days.

That part of the law, according to Gabriel Sterling, chief operating officer in the Secretary of State’s office, was written so that poll workers wouldn’t have to work on a holiday weekend. 

We know everything has to be political, especially right now in Georgia, but if there’s anything that makes sense, that part of the law does, right?

In a country where people are clamoring for shorter workweeks, more work from home, more holidays off, etc., it’s interesting to think that people are upset over the idea of giving someone a day off during Thanksgiving weekend. 

It’s likely that the voter turnout would be extremely small that day anyways, meaning poll workers would stand there all day for low pay ($10 an hour).

By the way, Troup County is always in need of new poll workers. Many local poll workers have gotten older and some decided they didn’t want to continue anymore. This year Troup County put out a request for new poll workers in August, hoping to find some new folks before the election cycle started.

While everyone seems to have an opinion on voting and elections in general, it’s interesting that finding poll workers is so difficult. 

As much political debate as there is in our country, and as much as people like to spout off their opinions on social media about the integrity of elections, you’d think people would be jumping through hoops to sign up to be a poll worker.

“[The law] was passed after holiday weekend voting years ago. It does protect those workers holiday weekend, but also acknowledges how very hard it is to get poll workers over a holiday weekend,” Sterling wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

We’d also argue that five days of early voting, an absentee ballot process and the availability of voting on Election Day seems like plenty of opportunity to cast a ballot. We know Alabama lives in the voting stone ages, but just across the state line, there is no early voting in the Yellowhammer State.  

None of this is to say that the very controversial voting law shouldn’t be rewritten with more consideration for a run-off. Why have a mandatory 28-day turnaround time right in the middle of the busiest time of year for most people? Why not provide an extra week — which would still leave more than a week before Christmas — to allow more time for early voting?

We certainly don’t believe a run-off should be as late as the last Senate run-off, which ran into January, so some stipulation on time is important. 

However, one extra week would still allow for a resolution to the election fairly quickly.

Of course, we’re using common sense here, not looking through tinted red or blue glasses. As we all know, when it comes to voting, both parties have plenty of opinions and are always looking for a leg up, as well as a way to point the finger the other way.

Five days of early voting should suffice, but it should be reconsidered to avoid this exact same scenario from playing out again in Georgia, where both parties should want as many votes as possible to be cast.