Oct 6, 2022 - News

Eligibility challenged for hundreds of Cobb voters

Illustration of a campaign button cracked in many pieces.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The eligibility of nearly 600 Cobb County voters is being challenged amid allegations that they have invalid mailing addresses.

Why it matters: This is the latest example of large-scale voter challenges that have occurred since S.B. 202 went into effect. The law, among other things, specified people could challenge the registration status of an unlimited number of voters.

  • Challenges to thousands of voters in Forsyth and Gwinnett counties have already been tossed, according to the AJC.
  • The Gwinnett challenge was filed by residents and advocacy group VoterGA, which believes fraud occurred in the 2020 election, the AJC reported Tuesday.

Driving the news: The challenge, submitted by a resident last month to Cobb Elections and Registration Director Janine Eveler, alleges 586 voters are ineligible because their mailing addresses do not contain apartment numbers.

What's happening: Eveler told Axios that the county is consulting with its legal team on how it should proceed with the latest challenge.

  • About 2,000 Cobb voters have been challenged since S.B. 202 was signed into law last year, she said.
  • The county has about 500,000 registered voters, Eveler told Axios.

State of play: The ACLU of Georgia yesterday sent a letter to the Cobb Board of Elections asking that it reject the challenge, "which fit a trend of third-party groups trying to disenfranchise thousands of voters in the immediate lead-up to an election."

What they're saying: Helen Butler, the executive director of the Georgia Coalition of the People's Agenda, a nonprofit organization that specializes in civic engagement work, told Axios these challenges take time away from officials who need to prepare for the upcoming election.

  • She also said the mass challenges work to intimidate voters because some are being asked to do what others aren’t required to do in order to vote.
  • "It's just creating confusion," she said. "A lot of voters don't know what to do when they get these types of letters. A lot of people can't get off work during the time they expect the hearings."

Context: Once a reliable Republican stronghold, Cobb County turned blue in 2016 when a majority of voters backed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.

  • Since then, countywide partisan elected positions like sheriff, district attorney and commission chair have flipped from Republican to Democrat.
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