Facts About The New Georgia Voting Law

Paul Navis

New legislation in Georgia has called for some stricter voting regulations in Georgia. While some claim this will make it harder for minorities to vote, others state that all Georgia is doing is requiring ID which we need for all kinds of other things in our lives. The 98-page bill has many different stipulations, not just about ID, that affect different areas of voting and is important to keep in mind. While many may have strong opinions on the bill, It is important to break down all aspects of the bill before discussing the potential ramifications.

The Georgia voting bill includes additions that will make voting laws stricter. Critics of the bill say these provisions are made to target poor and minority communities since these areas flipped Georgia for Joe Biden last year. According to The Washington Post, this is especially true for mail-in ballots. The law shrinks the request time for mail-in ballots from 6 months to 78 days. Individual Citizens would also have to request a ballot and counties would not be allowed to send every citizen a ballot. In addition to limiting mail-in ballots, early voting is also being shortened from a minimum of three weeks to just five days. The law will also require some form of ID, this can include a social security number or driver’s license number, or any other form of similar identification.

While most media coverage has focused on mail-in ballots and the new ID law, two provisions may hold more swing over the outcome of the election. NPR writes “SB 202 also criminalizes passing out food or drinks to voters waiting in line, except for a self-serve water station.” While proponents claim this is due to not wanting voters to be swayed, critics claim this is discriminatory due to long voting lines found in minority communities. What might be the most distinct change however is that the secretary of state would no longer be chair of the state election board. Instead, this falls to the general assembly. This changes the hand to who controls election disputes. This could potentially give Republicans an advantage due to controlling the general assembly.

Despite the bill being accused of making voting more difficult, there are many parts of the bill that actually can help secure people getting the right to vote. The Washington Post points out that there are a few things in the bill to help extend voting, including requiring a certain number of drop-off boxes, at least two Saturdays of early voting, and providing more resources to areas with long wait times. These provisions will be helpful for those in rural communities as well as hourly workers who have less time to stand in line. Georgia is one of many states recently to change voting laws.

It is important to remember that voting is a right of every American citizen and laws the effect our ability to vote should not be taken lightly.