The Southern Poverty Law Center is ponying up $30 million to help community organizations further their voter registration efforts.
The "Vote Your Voice" campaign, announced Tuesday, focuses on increasing registration and mobilization of voters of color in five states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Voting registration efforts across the country have taken a hit because of the coronavirus. Physical distancing and state lockdowns have made it difficult for organizers to do many of the usual voter registration pushes that take place during a presidential election year.
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Problematic elections have become unsettlingly common this spring, but Georgia's primary is standing out as particularly disastrous.
By the morning after, civil rights and good government groups were joining mostly Democratic lawmakers in a stark warning: Without more spending, more polling places, more poll workers, more equipment testing and more efficiencies in their vote-by-mail systems, states across the country are bound to replicate Georgia's debilitating chaos.
And that, they said, would turn the November presidential into a national crisis, with the results in dispute and millions of voters concluding they'd been disenfranchised.
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- Georgia, primary marred by long waits, voting site confusion - The ... ›
It didn't take long for problems to become clear on this month's second big day of voting.
But the challenges seemed almost entirely in one place: Georgia, by far the biggest of the five states with primaries Tuesday, and a rising presidential battleground after emerging as a singular focus of voting rights advocates for two years.
Thousands, especially in and around Atlanta, faced hours-long lines from the time the polls opened — and then were confronted by frequently malfunctioning equipment and diminished teams of inexperienced poll workers. Many others who took the state's advice and sought to vote remotely said they'd never received a mail-in ballot.
The varied troubles with the coronavirus-delayed primary, being conducted after two postponements in the ninth largest state, were the latest foretaste of the myriad challenges facing a presidential election during a pandemic.
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It turns out Gov. Brian Kemp can cancel an election and fill a vacancy through an appointment — at least in the case of the soon-to-be open seat on the Georgia Supreme Court.
Last week, the court ruled 6-2 that state officials could not be compelled to hold an election for Justice Keith Blackwell's seat after he steps down, so Kemp could go ahead with his appointment.
This move has opened up the Republican governor to more criticism that he'd rather stack the court with another conservative justice than allow Georgia voters to have their say.
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