It’s Only 55 Cents, But ACLU Says Georgia Is Running a Poll Tax

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(Bloomberg) -- Georgia’s election officials were sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for requiring voters to use their own 55-cent postage stamps to mail in absentee ballots during the coronavirus pandemic.

While the cost is small, any financial barrier to voting is barred by the Constitution, the ACLU said in a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court in Atlanta. The pandemic complicates the matter because many people no longer use stamps and would have to go out in public to buy them, violating social distancing rules and putting themselves at risk, the group said.

The complaint, filed on behalf of the Black Voters Matter Fund, compared the stamp requirement to a poll tax, the outlawed practice that for decades kept many African-Americans from voting. The ACLU said in its suit that Georgia, which is holding its primary on May 19, can easily move to prepaid mail-in ballots, noting the use of postage-free mailings for other purposes in the state.

The office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who oversees elections in the state, didn’t immediately return a call for comment on the suit.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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