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.
HB 531 & SB 241
Georgia GOP proposed legislation revives Georgia's dark history of voter suppression and racism as state policy. #ProtectTheVote
On March 1, 2021, Georgia House Republicans sided with conspiracy theorists and misinformation spreaders by passing HB 531, legislation that would threaten millions of Georgia voters’ access to the ballot box. All but three Republicans in the Georgia Senate majority are cosponsoring SB 241, a massive elections bill that would give Georgia one of the most restrictive absentee-by-mail voting laws in the country. Both are the latest attempt by lawmakers to make voting harder after Democratic victories.
SB 241 would end no-excuse mail voting, implement new ID requirements, and add witness requirements for mail voters resulting in the worst voter suppression since Jim Crow.
HB 531 restricts drop box access, adds new ID requirements for mail voting, and restricts weekend voting among other provisions all of which demonstrate just how unrelenting the GOP-led Georgia legislature is in their attacks on voting rights.
The CCDC is encouraging our members to write letters to their state representatives opposing these bills and strongly expressing outrage at the proposed legislation that would threaten millions of Georgia voters’ access to the ballot box.
Suggestions of what to say:
- These bills are suppressive and unnecessary, and they are outwardly discriminatory, and would have a disparate impact on Black and other minority voters across our state, as well as older voters and voters in single-person households.
- They would ultimately lead to increased taxes to pay for added voting costs.
- Outside groups would be prohibited from supplying funds as they have in the past.
- This bill would erect a barricade to voting access, reviving Georgia’s dark history of voter suppression and racism as state policy.
Republican Senator Email addresses:
You can can email the members of the Senate Ethics committee who crafted this bill.
Here they are with their email & phone numbers:
Max Burns, Chair firstname.lastname@example.org 404-656-7586
Dean Burke, Vice Chair, email@example.com 404-656-0040
Harold Jones II, Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org 404-656-0036
Jason Anavitarte email@example.com 404-656-0085
Gloria Butler firstname.lastname@example.org 404-656-0075
Mike Dugan email@example.com 404-656-7872
Steve Gooch firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Harbinson email@example.com 404-656-0074
Sally Harrell firstname.lastname@example.org 404-463-2260
Bo Hatchett email@example.com 404-656-7454
Butch Miller firstname.lastname@example.org 404-656-6578
Randy Robertson email@example.com 404-463-3931
Brian Strickland firstname.lastname@example.org 404-463-6598
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Chatham County Democratic Committee.