The Republican-controlled Georgia State House passed a broad election bill Thursday that seeks to reform the state’s voting laws after a series of Republican defeats in recent months.
The measure includes proposals to create new absentee voter identification requirements and limit voting booths. It also seeks to shorten the deadline for the runoff elections from the current nine-week deadline to just four weeks.
The bill was passed in a party line vote, and Democrats opposed it across the board. Republicans have argued that the legislation will increase confidence in the electoral process after ex President TrumpDonald Trump The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden Tasks Harris At Border; today’s press conference Democrats face questions about agenda Democrats are divided on gun control strategy MORE and his allies spent months claiming without proof that the results of Georgia’s 2020 presidential race were tainted with fraud and embezzlement.
Voting in the state House of Representatives on Thursday brings the bill one step closer to becoming law. Now he’s heading to the state Senate. State lawmakers are in the final days of the 2021 legislative session and face a tight deadline to finish their work.
If passed into law, the bill would have broad implications for the supervision and administration of elections in Georgia.
Under the proposal, voters would have to provide a driver’s license or state-issued identification card number to request and submit absentee ballots. The current system is based on signature matching, in which a voter’s signature on their ballot is compared to a signature on file.
The bill would also restrict the use of ballot boxes, limiting their location to early voting locations and making them accessible only while the precinct is open.
The legislation also proposes to allow the Georgia State Board of Elections to effectively take over the county boards of elections. In addition, it would remove the Georgia secretary of state as chair of the state board of elections.
Democrats and advocates of the right to vote have fiercely criticized the electoral law reforms, accusing Republican lawmakers of trying to restrict access to the vote after turnout in the November general election and two January elections helped the Democrats to win the White House and the Senate.
Fair Fight Action, the voting rights group founded by former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, condemned the passage of the bill by the House on Thursday and called the legislation an “undemocratic takeover” by the Republican Party.
“Overall, Georgians are overwhelmingly opposed to the reckless and dangerous GOP anti-vote legislation # SB202.” the group tweeted. “It is time for leaders across the state to support Georgians and oppose this legislation.”
Republicans have claimed that the bill would expand access to voting, noting a provision in the bill that would require two mandatory early voting dates on Saturdays and would give counties the option to vote early on two Sundays.
But the bill also targets the state’s absentee ballot request period, setting the deadline for voters to request absentee ballots 11 days before an election. It also calls for people to be prohibited from giving food or drinks to voters waiting in line to cast their vote.
The reform of the electoral law comes at a crucial time for both parties. Georgia is set to hold several hotly contested elections next year, including a Senate race in which the Senator. Raphael warnockRaphael WarnockTrump Allies Line Up Ahead Of Potentially Painful Primary Clyburn: Democrats ‘To Run’ In 2022 On COVID-19 Relief Bill Poll: Doug Collins Leads Among Georgia Republicans MORE (D-Ga.) He will face the voters again after winning a runoff against the former senator. Kelly loefflerKelly LoefflerClyburn: Democrats ‘To Run’ In 2022 On COVID-19 Relief Bill Poll: Doug Collins Leads Among Georgia Republicans Republican lawmakers introduce bill that makes killing of law enforcement officers a federal crime PLUS (R-Ga.) In January.
At the same time, the governor. Brian kempBrian KempGeorgia Allows All Adults To Get Vaccine Starting Thursday Trump Allies Line Up Before Potentially Hard-hitting Primaries Governor Races To Test Response To COVID-19, Trump’s Influence MORE and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger face reelection next year. Trump has vowed to campaign against both after both rejected his pleas to revoke the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.