In a move praised by experts at the Heritage Foundation, Georgia adopted numerous electoral reforms to expand electoral access and ensure the security of their elections. These reforms follow laws passed in both Arizona and Iowa, which also included ideas from heritage experts.
Earlier this year, Heritage published a detailed report on electoral reform that state lawmakers should specifically consider. These best practices, outlined in Heritage’s February 1 report, should strengthen electoral integrity in states that have primary responsibility for conducting elections in America.
Hans von Spakovsky, Heritage Suffrage Reform Manager and Senior Legal Adviser, commended the adoption of Georgia’s electoral reforms.
“This bill is a great first step in the right direction to protect both access and security. This should be the main objective of a state’s electoral process,” said von Spakovsky. “The state has made a good start in changing its electoral rules to reform the system and address the many security vulnerabilities that currently exist – vulnerabilities that have fueled controversy over the 2020 election results in Georgia.”
Von Spakovksy, a veteran of the struggle for free and fair elections, has testified before numerous state and congressional committees and has appeared frequently on television and radio debating the integrity of the elections. During the debate on the law, von Spakovsky wrote a comment for the Augusta Chronicle on the legislation.
One of the main issues addressed by reforms in Georgia is the postal voting process. Georgia has required government-issued photo ID for decades in order to vote in person – and the state has provided free ID cards to anyone who needs it. However, absentee votes have circumvented this requirement. They were mailed to anyone who requested them, regardless of identity verification. The new law updates the requirements for postal ballot papers to match those for personal voting.
In addition, Georgian law prohibits private funding of electoral officials and electoral officials to prevent outside actors from tipping over the polls in public elections. During the 2020 election, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg allegedly contributed “impartial” grants to state and local electoral bodies. However, post-election analysis revealed that the grants were intended for democratic districts.
Another reform removes “ballot picking”, a practice that allows third parties – such as political activists – to help voters request and fill out their postal ballot papers, collect them from voters, and mail them on their behalf. The new law would prohibit anyone other than a relative or a person helping an illiterate or physically disabled voter from submitting requests for postal voting or processing or delivering completed postal voting requests.
Georgia’s reforms were also made possible through Heritage Action, which worked with its network of grassroots activists on the matter.
“Heritage Action worked with over 20,000 electoral reform volunteers, many of whom met with lawmakers at the beginning of this process,” said Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action. “Thanks to them, Georgia is now leading the nation in free, fair and safe elections – the rest of the nation should follow.”
In the days since the law came into force, von Spakovsky has continued to push back the lies and distortions of the left about Georgia’s reforms.
“The Georgia bill, just signed by Governor Brian Kemp, contains many provisions designed to protect the safety and integrity of the electoral process, not to prevent eligible individuals from voting or succumbing to thirst while queuing to vote “, von Spakovsky wrote for The Daily Signal. “You have to have both access and security in elections, and the criticism of Georgia is deliberately misleading, short-sighted and shows remarkable ignorance of how votes and elections are actually conducted.”
Heritage Action also released a Myth versus Fact report to clear up the left’s false claims about the law.
For more information on Heritage’s recommendations for protecting electoral integrity in Georgia, please click here.