The ACLU of Georgia on behalf of Black Voters Matter in filing a lawsuit to protect voting rights, challenging the state’s failure to provide prepaid postage on mail-in absentee ballot envelopes.
This is straightforward: Postage costs money. Requiring voters to provide their own postage to submit mail-in absentee ballots amounts to a poll tax. And poll taxes are banned by the Constitution. Period.
While we fight to contain this pandemic, submitting a mail-in ballot may be the safest way to exercise our right to vote. By putting a price tag on it, Georgia is essentially forcing voters to pay to participate in our democracy. That’s unconscionable at any time, but especially now when so many are suffering.
The state failing to do something as simple as provide prepaid returnable envelopes adds a whole host of barriers, especially for lower-income voters. If you don’t have postage stamps, you shouldn’t be expected to needlessly expose yourself to COVID-19 to acquire them. And that assumes you have a car or access to ride-sharing or public transportation. Voters without internet access or a credit card can’t buy stamps online, and if they do, they’re forced to overpay for a book of stamps and guess how much postage they need.
No one should have to choose between protecting their health and protecting their right to vote. That’s particularly clear after witnessing Wisconsin’s primary this week, where poll workers and voters risked infection to participate in our democracy.
John, this is a long fight. Over the past three weeks, we’ve filed over 40 legal actions to preserve our civil liberties and keep us safe during this pandemic. As long as you’re with us, we won’t back down.