Days after Republicans passed HB 531 through the Georgia House, voices from across the state and country have sounded the alarm over the voting restriction proposals in the bill, which would make it disproportionately harder for low-income voters, rural voters, older voters, and voters of color to make their voices heard in our democratic process.
The bill, which Republicans introduced after Democrats made historic gains in Georgia in 2020, would require a photo ID to request an absentee ballot, shorten the timeline for voters to request and receive absentee ballots, limit absentee ballot drop boxes, and curtail early voting.
A chorus of voices immediately called out the bill for what it is – a slew of tactics to make it harder to vote, after record voter turnout propelled Democrats to victory and Republicans fomented mistrust in our election systems with false conspiracies theories:
New York Times: “Taken together, the new barriers would have an outsize impact on Black voters, who make up roughly one-third of the state’s population and vote overwhelmingly Democratic.”
Associated Press: “It is one of a flood of election bills being pushed by GOP lawmakers across the country this year that would add new barriers to voting…Democrats say the legislation furthers Trump’s lies and would disproportionately affect voters of color.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Democrats, civil rights groups and other critics say the measures amount to retaliation after Democratic wins in November and January, and they note that there is no evidence of systemic voter fraud or widespread irregularities, despite the lies that Donald Trump and his allies promoted to try to reverse his defeat in November’s presidential election.”
Valdosta Daily Times: “Republican lawmakers pitched the measure as an effort to boost “integrity” and “public confidence” after the majority party lost statewide bids to Democrats in the general and runoff elections. Falsehoods that the election was “stolen” — perpetuated by Donald Trump — spurred dozens of voting bills under the Gold Dome that opponents say seek to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.”
11Alive: “The Georgia House passed a controversial election bill that would add voting restrictions in upcoming elections. The bill came in light of Republican distress over Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the November presidential election.”
Macon Telegraph: Democratic lawmakers and voting-rights groups have condemned the tightened absentee voter ID rule, likening it to an attempt at voter suppression seeking to blunt Democrats’ momentum.
WABE: “Recent surveys found a sharp drop in confidence in the election only among Republicans following a disinformation campaign about the November election spawned by former President Donald Trump and perpetuated by many GOP members of the Georgia General Assembly.”
Augusta Chronicle: “Democratic lawmakers and voting-rights groups have condemned the tightened absentee voter ID rule, likening it to an attempt at voter suppression seeking to blunt Democrats’ momentum after the party flipped the presidency and both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats in the 2020 elections.”
Marietta Daily Journal: “Opponents of the bill also argue it disenfranchises Black voters. It bans buses from transporting voters to the polling sites to vote unless there is an emergency declaration. The provision would block ‘Souls to Polls,’ a Sunday voting initiative that has transported Black voters from church services to the polls for decades.”
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