Decatur mom asked to leave early voting because of crying child

A DeKalb County mother of three was asked to leave early voting Thursday when her child wouldn’t stop crying.

Citing a state law giving poll workers broad discretion to determine when children are distracting other voters, officials asked Jennifer Fair to take her 2-year-old daughter outside a downtown Decatur polling place because she was crying. Fair said she had to leave without casting a ballot because the experience had “freaked out” her daughter, Casey.

“I knew there was nothing I could do to calm her down,” Fair said. “It’s just how she is. If she’s scared she’s not going to calm down in a place where she is scared.”

Fair was able to return and cast her ballot Friday with the help of her husband, but she said the experience made her question whether the state law is friendly to voters with small children. Rebecca DeHart, executive director for the Georgia Democratic Party, agreed.

“While the poll worker may technically be operating within the legal limits of Georgia code, it’s unfortunate that they would use this latitude to interfere with this mother’s constitutional right to vote,” DeHart said. “I bring my 2-year-old child with me to the polls every single time because I want him to grow up valuing the precious right to vote.”

Read more about Fair’s experience in this week AJC Watchdog column here.

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