What’s in Georgia law? Voters can cast ballots by mail without photo ID, in-person requirements do not change


What’s really on the bill?

Among the salient provisions of Georgia’s controversial new election law is a change in the way the state verifies the identity of voters who solicit and cast absentee votes.

The change eliminates signature matching, a process that can be subjective at times, as a method of confirming the identities of absent voters. Instead, if voters have a driver’s license number or state identification number, they should use it to verify who they are.

This change has been criticized by many because it will likely make it harder for Georgians, specifically minorities who are most likely to vote Democrats, to vote by mail.

“The new election bill in Georgia is not about showing identification to vote,” wrote Atlantic writer Jemele Hill. “Republicans are out of the state that the state has turned blue, and they resent that black voters are taking power away from them. They want a rigged game because they are too lazy to think of a new vision and compete for votes.”

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“The new Georgia law imposes a new identification requirement to return an absentee ballot. There is no reason to do this other than Trump’s lies,” he added. aggregate Popular information writer Judd Legum.

“Previously, Georgia law required voters to simply sign their absentee ballot requests. They will now have to provide a driver’s license number or equivalent state-issued identification,” The New York Times wrote in an explanation. about the law. “It is practically certain that this will limit access to absentee voting.”

But under the new law, Georgia voters who do not have a photo ID still have a menu of options to confirm their identity when requesting or casting an absentee ballot.

According to the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, voters can also verify their identities with the last four digits of their social security number; a utility bill; a bank account statement; a government check; a paycheck; or other government document with your name and address.

Absentee ballot requests can be submitted electronically so voters can attach a picture of their photo ID or one of the other forms of identification allowed if they don’t have one. For vote-by-mail ballots, voters can write their photo identification number. If they don’t have it, they can write the last four digits of their social security number plus their date of birth, Raffensperger’s office said. And in the extraordinarily rare case that a voter doesn’t have any, they can attach a copy of a utility bill or other similar document with their name and address.

This virtually ensures that voters will never have to pay for photocopier services to submit an absentee ballot request.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a press release Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Atlanta.  Raffensperger, who criticized former President Donald Trump for his false claims that he won the presidential election, has defended Georgia's new election law.  (AP Photo / John Bazemore)

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a press release Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Atlanta. Raffensperger, who criticized former President Donald Trump for his false claims that he won the presidential election, has defended Georgia’s new election law. (AP Photo / John Bazemore)

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Raffensperger’s office noted that Georgians needed a photo ID to register to vote before this new law and will continue to need one after it is passed. The difference is simply limited to what is required when requesting and casting an absentee vote.

During an interview with The Daily Signal, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp also noted that voters without a driver’s license or state ID can still prove who they are with different documents.

“And I think it will be of great help and in no way will it alienate or disallow someone from the opportunity to vote because most people have these IDs,” Kemp said. “If they don’t, we’ll give them one for free. And even if you don’t have that, there are provisions in the bill where you can still get an absentee ballot by submitting other documents that are listed in the legislation.”

Raffensperger has separately defended the requirement for state identification for absentee ballots.

“There is no rational argument against requiring state identification, which is provided free of charge to those without a driver’s license, for absentee ballots,” the secretary of state said in a statement at the end of the month. last. “I implemented our first version of that last year; every request for an absentee ballot that came in through the state’s website was cross-referenced to the driver’s license database and other records.”

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp speaks during a press conference announcing the expansion of COVID testing across the state on August 10, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Kemp recently signed a new electoral law in Georgia.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp speaks during a press conference announcing the expansion of COVID testing across the state on August 10, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kemp recently signed a new electoral law in Georgia.
(Elijah Nouvelage / Getty Images)

In particular, Georgia’s photo ID requirement to vote in person, which has been in place for years, has not changed.

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Raffensperger added: “The left said that photo identification to vote in person would suppress votes. It did not. Registration and turnout soared, reaching new records with each election cycle. Their catastrophic predictions about the effects of this law are simply unfounded. The upcoming elections will prove it, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for the left and the media to admit they were wrong. “

The secretary of state’s office also noted that the vast majority of voters should not encounter any difficulties with the new law. This is because 99% of active voters already have a valid driver’s license, social security number, or other identification number registered with the state.

“Total nonsense being pushed by Stacey Abrams and the Democrats,” said Stephen Lawson, deputy executive director of Kelly Loeffler’s “Greater Georgia” group. “The fact is, this law expands access while strengthening the integrity of our elections, which is why Greater Georgia is proud to support it.”

Republicans outside of Georgia have also harshly criticized opponents of the law for allegedly mischaracterizing it.

“Over 70 percent of Americans, including a majority of Democrats and a large majority of independents, favor common sense voter identification requirements; even so, Georgia will accept alternatives to driver’s licenses to verify absentee voters. “said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. ., it said in a statement Monday. “All the facts disprove the big lie.”

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“All voters will be able to have multiple ways to prove who they are. Driver’s license, the last four numbers of their social security number, even their utility bill or a free identification provided by the state of Georgia,” said the former El Jersey Governor Chris Christie said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

“Georgia’s new electoral integrity law includes a common sense provision to secure its absentee voting system,” Heritage Action President Jessica Anderson said in a statement to Fox News.

“Georgia has required a photo ID to vote in person for years, and now the same requirement applies to absentee ballots,” he continued. “This is a smart step to ensure that it is easy to vote and difficult to cheat in Georgia and restore Georgians’ confidence in their electoral system. Anyone calling for boycotts has clearly not read the facts about the law.”

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Outrage over the new voting law has led to immense pressure on Georgia-based corporations such as Delta and Coca-Cola to condemn it. Major League Baseball even moved its annual All-Star Game to Atlanta.

The bill also includes a variety of other provisions, many of which are controversial.

It legalizes ballot boxes, which would not have been allowed in future elections regardless of the new law, but sets some limits on when those ballot boxes can be accessed. It also reduces the window for absentee ballots to be requested; expands early voting; and transfers responsibility on the State Board of Elections from the Secretary of State to a designated “nonpartisan” person selected by the state legislature; among other things.

Cameron Cawthorne of Fox News contributed to this report.



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