Crowell v. Cobb County

Status: Closed (Judgment)
Last Update: December 2, 2022

What's at Stake

For the second time in as many months and over two elections, Cobb County again failed to timely send absentee ballots to thousands of voters. The ACLU and partners successfully sued on behalf of impacted voters to ensure that they and other Cobb County voters could effectively cast their ballots in Georgia's December 2022 runoff election.

After the November 2022 general election, Georgia’s race for the U.S. Senate proceeded to a runoff election, held on December 6, 2022. Just a month earlier, in Cook v. Cobb County, the ACLU was forced to seek emergency relief ahead of the November 2022 election because Cobb County failed to timely send absentee ballots to more than 1,000 voters who had requested them, risking mass disenfranchisement.

Remarkably, ahead of the December 2022 runoff election, voters in Cobb County found themselves in the same situation. In the runup, Cobb County admitted that it had failed to timely send absentee ballots to more than 3,400 voters whose absentee ballots had been marked as issued on November 23, 2022. The data suggested that these delays had a real impact on Cobb County voters, as a much smaller percentage of requested absentee ballots in Cobb County had been returned as compared to the return rate statewide.

The ACLU, ACLU of Georgia, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Dechert LLP—brought another emergency motion for an interlocutory injunction and temporary restraining order on December 1, 2022, on behalf of Cobb County voters who had timely requested absentee ballots but had not received them.

One day later, on December 2, 2022, the Superior Court for the State of Georgia, in Cobb County, granted Plaintiffs’ motion for an interlocutory injunction. The Court ordered that Cobb County must: (i) extend the ballot receipt deadline for all affected voters by three days, to December 9, 2022, the same deadline for Uniformed and Overseas Voters, provided those ballots were postmarked by Election Day; (ii) allow affected voters who had not received their absentee ballot by two days before Election Day to use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (“FWAB”) to cast their ballots; and (iii) issue a public announcement on its Board of Elections website.

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