NEW FACT SHEET: Republicans’ Anti-Voting Bill Would Have Affected More Than 2.2 Million Georgians’ Votes in 2020-2021 Elections

February 22, 2021

HB 531 Would Target Voting Access Measures That Disproportionately Benefit People of Color, Seniors, Rural & Low-Income Georgians

Last week, Georgia House Republicans hurriedly introduced and held hearings on HB 531, a bill to tear down essential ballot access measures that helped more Georgians than ever before vote in the 2020 general election and 2021 runoff election. The proposal includes legislation that would end Sunday early voting, prevent post-general election voter registration for a runoff election, and collapse absentee ballot application and early voting timelines.

If these proposed voter suppression tactics were in place in the 2020-2021 general and runoff elections, at least 2,276,863 Georgians’ votes would have been affected.

“Under the Georgia GOP’s plan to dismantle our elections system, over 2.2 million Georgians’ votes would have been affected, causing with hours-long lines during early vote, overwhelming elections offices, or even preventing voters from casting their ballots at all,” said Maggie Chambers, spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Georgia. “This bill is a direct attack on Georgia voters, especially the communities of color who are already more likely to face long lines and barriers to casting their ballot. Georgia Republicans are gutting voting access because they couldn’t win when more Georgians voted.” 

Background:

  • 244,059 early in-person voters in the general and runoff elections voted on days that the GOP now proposes cutting. As currently drafted, HB 531 would end nearly all weekend early voting in general and runoff elections. If such a rule were in place in the general and runoff elections, 138,827 general election voters and 105,232 runoff election voters would have been affected.
    • In the general election, 138,827 Georgians voted on Saturday, October 17, Sunday, October 18, or Sunday, October 25, out of 2,694,879 total early in-person voters.
    • In the runoff election, 105,232 Georgians voted on Saturday, December 19, Sunday, December 20, or Sunday, December 27, out of 2,073,829 total early in-person voters.
  • 1,359,630 early in-person voters in the runoff election voted on days that the GOP now proposes cutting. As currently drafted, HB 531 would limit early voting in runoff elections to the last 5 days before the election. If such a rule were in place in the runoff election, 1,359,630 voters would have been affected.
    • In the runoff election, only 709,459 Georgians voted in the last five days of in-person early vote out of 2,069,089 total early in-person votes, meaning 1,359,630 votes – 65% of total early in-person votes – were cast outside of the GOP’s proposed condensed window.
  • 67,135 Georgians registered to vote in the runoff election outside of the window that the GOP now proposes. As currently drafted, HB 531 would prevent voter registration for a runoff election after the general election. If such a rule were in place in the runoff election, 67,135 Georgians would not have been eligible to vote in the runoff. 
    • 67,135 newly registered voters with no general election vote history were added to the list of potential voters for the subsequent runoffs. These voters were registered between Nov. 4 and the state registration deadline on Dec. 7.
  • 606,039 Georgians applied for absentee ballots during the general election outside of the window that the GOP now proposes. As currently drafted, HB 531 would nearly halve the application window for absentee ballot applications. If such a shortened window were in place in the general election, 606,039 voters would have been affected. 
    • 577,919 people applied for absentee ballots between May 7, 2020, when absentee ballot applications opened, and August 15, 2020, which is the GOP’s proposed new start date for submitting applications.
    • 28,120 people, including Brian Kemp, applied for absentee ballots in the 11 days before the election, which under HB 531 has been shortened from the current standard of the Friday before Election Day. 

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