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Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 10:42am

Early Voting Period To Shrink

A new state law going into effect Friday will shorten Georgia’s early voting period to 21 days. Supporters say it will save counties money and reduce confusion for voters.

Since 2008, Georgia has had one of the longest early voting periods in the nation, at 45 days.

The new 21-day advanced voting period will be closer to the national average of 24 days, according to a survey by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.

The association’s Matt Hicks says the additional costs of early voting don’t make sense for many small counties that don’t need reduce crowds on Election Day.

“In some of the counties, it was costing well over $100 a vote. So this law is a compromise between the larger counties and the smaller counties.”

Hicks also says voters will be less likely to think there are a different set of races on Election Day.

“It was reported by the counties that elderly voters would forget that they had voted already," he said. "They also reported, voters were unprepared for the ballot questions because a lot of the education for an election happens in the final weeks leading up to the election.”

Under the law, the polls will now be open on one Saturday before Election Day.

The League of Women Voters of Georgia supported the bill. The U.S. Department of Justice will have to approve the change because of requirements in the Voting Rights Act.

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