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29 October 2008

State Democratic Party Chair Calls For Extended Early Voting...

...But the Republican Secretary of State says Georgia law won't allow it.

Yesterday, a letter from Georgia Democratic Party chair Jane Kidd appearing on the left-leaning blog, "Blog for Democracy", urged Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel to extend the hours of early voting for the rest of the week and also to allow for voting to take place over the weekend as well as Monday, November 3rd, the day before the election [Source: Blog for Democracy, "DPG Chair Jane Kidd calls for extension of Advance Voting period", October 29, 2008].

"No one wants to see Georgia's failed processes become a national news story. But today, it is clear that we are in a crisis, and it is unclear even if there is enough time for the remaining four million-plus Georgia voters to cast their votes in an efficient and timely manner," Jane Kidd wrote. "With that in mind, and on behalf of the Democratic Party of Georgia, I urge you to contact the Department of Justice immediately and request clearance to keep the polls open longer during the week and over the weekend, as well as on Monday, November 3."

However, Georgia law does not allow absentee, early or advanced voting on weekends or on the day before the election [Source: Official Code of Georgia Annotated 21-2-384(a)(2)]. And Karen Handel says she's sticking to the state statute.

Handel -- a Republican who oversees Georgia elections -- says state law doesn't provide for weekend voting and prohibits voting on the Monday before Election Day.

Besides, she says county officials will be working through the weekend to prepare for the crush of voters.
[Source: 11Alive.com, "Ga. Secretary of State: No Mechanism for Saturday Voting", October 29, 2008]

News reports say that some Georgians are waiting in line for more than 8 hours just to vote early [Source: 11Alive.com, "Ga. Residents Wait Up to 8 Hours to Vote Early", October 29, 2008].