Georgia Republicans Pass Radical Bill to Restrict Voting | News News
The bill seeks an increase in absentee voting by Democrats in the state Joe Biden won in the 2020 presidential election.
A bill passed and signed by the governor of Georgia on Thursday will revise U.S. state election laws to restrict future absentee voting and give the Republican legislature greater control over election administration.
Democrats and voting rights groups have said the legislation, quickly passed by the House and Senate and signed by Governor Brian Kemp, would disproportionately deprive black voters in a state with a history of racial discrimination.
“It’s amazing that there are still people trying to stop people from voting today. You change the rules, reduce voting hours and make it harder for people to vote, ”Democratic state representative Erica Thomas said, according to the Atlanta Constitution-Journal.
“Too many people fought, bled and died for our right to vote,” Thomas said.
President Joe Biden, at a press conference in Washington on Thursday, called Republican efforts to limit voting access in state legislatures like Georgia “sick,” “despicable” and “anti-American.”
Republican authors of the 95-page bill said it aimed to increase public confidence in Georgia’s federal elections by requiring photo ID to vote in absence, among other changes to electoral rules.
“Georgia will take another step forward to ensure that our elections are safe, accessible and fair,” Kemp said moments after signing the bill.
“One of the things we looked at was a system that was broken,” Rep. Alan Powell, a Republican, told the Constitution-Journal.
“The Georgian electoral system was never designed to be able to handle the volume of votes it manages,” he said.
Over 1.3 million Georgian voters cast their ballot in the 2020 election.
The bill passed House 100-75 and Senate 34-20 on line votes with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.
The bill is part of a wave of election bills drafted by Republicans introduced by Republicans into US state legislatures after former President Donald Trump fueled false claims that the fraud led to his 2020 electoral loss.
Tells in Georgia confirmed Joe Biden’s slim 11,000-vote victory in the state. Biden was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia since 1992.
The second round of elections for two seats in the US Senate was won in January by Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, giving Democrats majority control of the Senate.
The bill will limit the placement of ballot boxes at early polls, set a deadline for requesting postal ballots 11 days before an election, and ban the distribution of food and water to voters waiting in line.
The bill will transfer authorities from the elected secretary of state to a new person appointed to the legislature following the rejection of Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump’s attempts to reverse Georgia’s results.
Among its most controversial provisions, it will allow state election officials to intervene in local election administration, potentially allowing the Republican legislature to disqualify ballots in the heavily Democratic Fulton County of Atlanta.
Local electoral administrators appointed by the legislature “could interrupt the certification of results in this county and deprive thousands of Georgians of their rights. It would be incredibly destabilizing for our democracy, ”said Nancy Abudu, deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center on Thursday.
The bill “will have a disproportionate impact on historically disenfranchised voting groups,” Abudu said.