Governor Kemp Signed this legislation into law March 25, 2021
SB 202: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 2 of Title 21 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to elections and primaries generally, so as to provide that persons or entities that mail absentee ballot applications shall mail such applications only to eligible registered electors who have not already requested, been issued, or voted an absentee ballot; to require certain comparisons to remove improper names from mail distribution lists; to provide for sanctions for violations; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
Among the worst voter suppression tactics in SB 202 are:
- Makes absentee voting harder by requiring ID and drastically shortening the timeline to request a ballot. Requiring a copy of ID to vote absentee is prohibitive for voters who lack access to scanners, copiers, and printers, particularly rural and low-income voters. Narrowing the timeline to request a ballot will inevitably lead to less absentee voting, and thus lead to either longer lines for in-person voting or people not voting at all.
- Renders absentee ballot drop boxes useless by limiting their availability and keeping them behind locked doors. Limiting the number of and access to ballot drop boxes would severely hamper one of the safest, easiest, and most convenient ways to return a ballot, especially at a time when our mail system is overloaded and uncertain.
- Throwing out votes of many eligible voters who cast their ballot at the wrong precinct location. Eligible voters who are properly registered could see their votes go uncounted if they vote at the wrong precinct, which is likely given last-minute precinct changes and the logistical difficulty in conveying such late notices to every single voter.
- Criminalizing handing out food and water to people standing in long lines to vote. If absentee voting is made harder, which this bill would do, we can expect voters at precincts with typically long lines to face even greater wait times. Denying them food and water discourages them from staying in line to cast their ballot.
- Allowing the State Election Board, under the control of the General Assembly, to take over county-run election boards. This would rip control from local election officials and counties and consolidate it within a group of partisan actors.
Shortening the runoff timeline from nine weeks to four weeks. County election officials have said it would be nearly impossible to implement such a condensed runoff timeline. This would place an incredibly costly and time-consuming burden on local officials.