Passage of Georgia’s Extreme Voting Bills Would Be Devastating for Voting Rights

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ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia House of Representatives has hastily introduced twin omnibus voting bills that would change Georgia from being one of the most inclusive states for absentee ballot access in the U.S. to one of the most restrictive. HB 531 was introduced last week and SB 241 was introduced last night, with votes coming as early as next week. The former would eliminate Sunday early voting, a provision with no legitimate rationale and blatantly aimed at Black communities’ effective use of Souls to the Polls events to mobilize their voters. The latter would set an age requirement for absentee voting at 65.

“If Georgia’s anti-voter legislation is passed, it would be devastating for voting rights. This partisan effort is part of a larger disturbing trend of restrictive voting bills that are gaining steam across the U.S. this year. Election laws should be structured to increase voter participation, not to suppress it,” said Danielle Lang, co-director of voting rights at Campaign Legal Center (CLC). “We all care about election integrity. That is why no-excuse absentee voting, just like in-person voting, incorporates rigorous and highly effective processes to ensure ballots are legitimate. The best way to strengthen confidence in our elections is for lawmakers to stop spreading false claims about the security of the 2020 election. No-excuse absentee voting is used by 34 states and was passed on a bipartisan basis in Georgia in 2005. After a record 1.3 million Georgians voted in 2020, there is no reason to move backwards.”

Georgia officials, including Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, have repeatedly debunked claims of systemic irregularities in the 2020 elections, which are being used to justify this legislative agenda. In reaction to the many bills making their way through the legislature, Raffensperger said, “At the end of the day many of these bills are reactionary to a disinformation campaign that could have been prevented.” House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who presides over the Senate, have both announced they will not support any bill that curtails eligibility to vote by mail.

A new national survey conducted by Strategies 360 finds that American voters firmly reject recent state legislation restricting eligible Americans’ ability to vote safely, securely, and in a convenient manner. Americans emphatically endorse states’ efforts over the past year to give voters more options for voting safely during the pandemic, including absentee voting. A 70% majority of voters approve of these changes while just 26% disapprove.