Republican state senators in Georgia introduced a number of bills on Monday that would put an end to automatic voter registration, ballot drop boxes and no-excuse absentee voting in the state.
GOP lawmakers are seeking to overhaul the state’s election laws “after record turnout resulted in wins for Democrats, including Joe Biden’s run for president and the bids by Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock for the U.S. Senate,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
One measure would prevent voters from being automatically registered to vote when they get their driver’s licenses. Another would ban drop boxes, requiring absentee ballots to be returned through the mail or at county election offices.
In addition, a proposal would roll back a state law allowing registered voters to cast an absentee ballot for any reason. Absentee voting would be limited to those over 75 years old, voters with disabilities or anyone required to be absent from his or her precinct.
Democrats say the bills are an effort to reduce voting access in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s election loss and ensuing false claims of voter fraud.
“It’s voter suppression. If you restrict access, then people get discouraged and they don’t vote. They don’t come back,” said Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler, a Democrat from Stone Mountain. “We have to make the argument that it’s a good process. People were able to vote, and they voted in record numbers.”
AJC reported that about a quarter of all votes cast in the November election — more than 1.3 million — were absentee ballots, which became a popular choice among voters during the pandemic.
A poll by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found most Georgians oppose restricting absentee voting to older voters or those who have a valid reason for not being able to vote in person. The poll also showed that most people support the use of absentee ballot drop boxes, and they don’t believe in the thoroughly debunked claims of widespread voter fraud.
About three-quarters of voters backed requiring either photo ID or documentation to be able to cast an absentee ballot, according to the poll.
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