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Atlanta Civic Circle Democracy

Controversial election-related bills introduced

By Tammy Joyner

State Republican lawmakers have introduced a group of election-related bills that, if passed, could make it more difficult for some to vote in Georgia.

The eight senate bills seek to end automatic voter registration and ballot drop boxes, require photo IDs to get an absentee ballot application and an excuse to vote absentee.

The bills are already meeting resistance from groups such as New Georgia Project Action Fund which took to Instagram to voice their objection.

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“These bills were just introduced and the situation around them remains fluid but we are committed to beating back any attempts at voter suppression in this state and providing you all with action items to hold our elected officials accountable and stop these bills in their track,” the group wrote.

State Senator Nikki Merritt (D) rebuffed to the bills in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, likening the new slate of bills to Jim Crow-era laws.

 

Here are the bills in question:

SB 67: Absentee Ballot application ID. The bill seeks to provide for  “the submission of identification in connection with absentee ballot applications; to provide for the submission of photocopies of voter identification documents for absentee ballot applications.”

SB 68: Gets rid of ballot drop boxes. The bill seeks “to revise the manner of delivery of voted absentee ballots.”

SB 69: Ends automatic voter registration. The bill states “provide that persons desiring to register to vote or update their voter registration through an application for a driver’s license or identification card shall be required to affirmatively indicate such desire on such application.”

SB 70: Bans new Georgia residents from voting in runoffs. The bill states “a person who votes in a general election for the office of U.S. Representative or U.S. Senator in another state and subsequently moves to this state shall be ineligible to vote in a runoff for any such offices in this state in the same election cycle.”

SB 71: Requires an excuse to vote absentee. The bill would “revise the definition of ‘absentee elector’ to provide for reasons for voting by absentee ballot.”

SB 72: Requires monthly updates to election officials of deceased voters. “County registrars shall obtain monthly from the coroner, judge of the probate court, and funeral homes in the county identifying information about persons who died in the county during the previous month.”

SB 73: Prevents nonprofits from mailing absentee ballot applications to voters. The bill seeks to ”limit the distribution of absentee ballot applications to certain election officials and candidates.”

SB 74: Gives poll watchers greater access by revising “poll watchers at tabulating centers to observe the vote-counting process.”

The proposed bills are a direct response to the recent record voter turnout that led to Democrats taking the White House and Georgia sending two Democratic senators to Congress.

 

Want to get involved?

You can find out more about each bill at legiscan.com

Concerned? You can contact your legislator here.

And click here for more on voter resources.

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