Posted by 26 March 2021
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has signed into law a bill that would make significant changes to how the state conducts elections. Supporters say it will fix issues that came up during the 2020 election but opponents argue it is a partisan attempt to disenfranchise Democratic voters.
The legislation, passed along a party-line vote, would alter Georgia's election procedures. Among other things, it would:
- Require voter ID when someone requests an absentee ballot
- Require counties to have ballot drop-boxes but limit how they can be used
- Give the state more power to suspend or review county election officials
- Reduce the time-frame for run-off elections by 5 weeks
- End the "jungle primary" system for special elections where candidates from all parties run together
- Expand early voting
- Shorten the time for requesting an early voting ballot
- Ban the state and counties from sending unsolicited requests for absentee ballots
- Forbid volunteers from giving food and drink to voters waiting in line
Republicans who pushed for this legislation argue that it is needed to clarify what the state and counties can do in terms of voting procedures. They note that the coronavirus pandemic caught the state unprepared and allowed practices that had never been used before. They say that this will give voters confidence that their elections will be run fairly and without fraud.
Democrats, however, argue that these provisions are a reaction by Republicans to the losses they incurred during the 2020 election. They contend that the new practices will make it more difficult for younger and minority voters to cast ballots -- voters who are primarily Democratic. They have likened these changes to Jim Crow laws.
Gov. Kemp signed this bill into law on Thursday, and by Friday there had already been a lawsuit filed to block it.
How would you like to see voting laws changed?