Georgia House Republicans Push to Ban Sunday Early Voting | Georgia News

By BEN NADLER, Related Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Georgia‘s state House on Thursday launched a sweeping election invoice that may place restrictions on absentee voting and ban counties from holding early voting on Sundays, a preferred day for Black churchgoers who vote throughout “Souls to the Polls” occasions.

The invoice comes after Black voters and a surge in absentee ballots helped Democrats win the presidential election and two U.S. Senate runoffs within the as soon as reliably pink state.

House Invoice 531 would require a photograph ID for absentee voting, restrict the time when an absentee poll might be requested, prohibit the place poll drop containers might be positioned, ban counties from holding early voting on Sundays and prohibit the usage of cell voting models, amongst many different modifications.

Truthful Combat, a voting rights group based by Democrat Stacey Abrams, mentioned on Twitter that the proposal “would have devastating penalties for voting rights in Georgia” and “raises too many considerations to depend.”

A number of Democrats and voting rights teams additionally criticized the velocity with which the invoice is transferring ahead. The invoice was heard within the House Particular Committee on Election Integrity the identical day it was launched, with little public discover given and earlier than many lawmakers had time to overview the numerous provisions it accommodates.

The invoice’s introduction got here the identical day {that a} Republican-controlled state Senate committee permitted a number of different GOP-backed voting payments.

The Senate Ethics Committee voted in favor of Senate Invoice 67, which might require that an individual embrace their driver’s license quantity, different state ID quantity or a photocopy of an permitted ID when submitting an absentee poll utility. The invoice may quickly transfer to the total state Senate for a vote.

At the moment, there isn’t any photograph ID requirement for absentee voting, and voters are verified by their signature. That verification course of turned the goal of repeated false claims by former President Donald Trump, regardless of election officers in Georgia emphatically saying there was no widespread fraud.

Republican lawmakers have seized on the difficulty, saying photograph ID must be required for absentee voters to safeguard the method and restore confidence within the system.

Democrats say the measure is pointless and can solely disenfranchise lawful voters.

State Sen. Larry Walker, a Republican from Perry sponsoring the laws, mentioned it’s “an try to present an simply verified approach to verify that the individual requesting the poll is certainly who they are saying they’re.”

Democrats on the committee raised considerations that it might be burdensome for some voters, together with aged and first-time voters who don’t have a driver’s license. Additionally they raised considerations that mailing in a replica of an ID resembling a passport could lead on to privateness and id theft points.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, each Republicans, have endorsed the thought of requiring photograph ID for absentee voting, although neither has but backed a selected proposal.

The Senate committee additionally permitted Senate Invoice 89, which might create a place for a brand new election official, reporting to the state election board, that might intervene in “low-performing” county election workplaces. The state election board would additionally create the factors for what constitutes an underperforming county.

Fulton County, a Democratic stronghold that features Atlanta, has usually been singled out by state election officers for issues together with lengthy strains on Election Day.

State Sen. Sally Harrell, a Democrat from Atlanta, mentioned she feared partisan motivations may come into play. The state election board at present has 4 Republican members and one Democrat.

The Senate committee additionally superior laws that may mandate that counties start to course of absentee ballots earlier than Election Day, a rule Raffensperger started implementing final election cycle. One other invoice permitted by the committee would shorten the time counties have to report data of who voted in an election from 60 days to 30 days.

The final invoice permitted Thursday by the committee, Senate Invoice 188, would require the secretary of state to create a public-facing portal that reveals what number of complete ballots have been forged by methodology, earlier than any outcomes might be reported. If handed, the measure may delay outcomes being launched by a number of days.

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