Today, in response to the anticipated overwhelming number of absentee ballots that will be cast during the 2020 General Election in November and service cuts to the United States Postal Service (USPS), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) announced it provided funding to Fulton County, Georgia, for the purchase of up to 25 absentee drop boxes* to be distributed throughout the county. The SPLC also announced that it will mail over one million voters of color across all 159 Georgia counties 3 separate times – first with information on the online portal to facilitate absentee voting, then with a blank copy of the official Secretary of State application to request an absentee ballot along with instructions for completion and submission by mail, and finally a last reminder on absentee voting. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot in Georgia is October 30.
The organization’s efforts are part of a multi-pronged strategy along with its Vote Your Voice campaign to eliminate as many barriers to the ballot box as possible in Georgia and across the Deep South.
“The SPLC is proud to assist in providing the necessary grant funding to counties like Fulton facing budgetary constraints and support efforts to increase the safe exercise of absentee voting. However, the ultimate solution is increased support and funding guarantees from the Governor and Secretary of State to ensure all people have equal access to voting regardless of their county of residence or zip code,” SPLC Chief Strategy Officer Seth Levi said in the October 7 statement.
“To comply with current State regulations, the drop boxes in Fulton are placed on county or municipal property; they have video surveillance; and they are made of durable material able to withstand inclement weather and vandalism. The cost of a single drop box can be as high as $6,000. The SPLC anticipates providing funding totaling $85,000 to pay for approximately 25 new boxes and accompanying video security equipment in the county,” Levi added.