With the recent passage of House Bill 531 by the Georgia House of Representatives, the state has made a good start in changing its electoral rules to reform the system and address the many current security vulnerabilities – flaws that have fueled controversy over election results Georgia in 2020.
Legislators have proposed several changes to the state’s electoral law regarding primaries and elections. Including: revisions in dealing with postal votes and early voting. Given some of the problematic voting procedures used in Georgia during the 2020 presidential election, this bill is certainly a step in the right direction.
One of the most urgently needed reforms in House Bill 531 is the addition of mandatory identification for postal ballot papers. Georgia has had a model voter ID bill for more than a decade that requires government-issued photo ID to vote in person – and the state provides free ID to anyone who lacks one.
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The current ID Act only applies to personal polls, not postal ballots, as the Alabama ID Act does. It is important to understand that signature matching is a very insecure method to ensure that the registered voter actually completed and returned a postal vote.
Handwriting analysis is more of an art than a science, and the average poll worker lacks the training necessary to do so, especially in the very short time he takes to review thousands of postal ballot papers. Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Victor Joecks illustrated this last year when he mailed nine postal ballot papers with forged signatures to election officials. Only one was caught; the others sailed through without discovery.
The House bill would require voters requesting a postal vote to provide either a photocopy of the same ID acceptable for personal voting, or the serial number of their Georgia driver’s license or photo ID of a non-driver. The state will continue to conduct a signature match, but an ID requirement is an additional – and necessary – layer of security to protect voters.
The law also changes state law to protect voters from predatory voter traffickers – political activists, campaign workers, party activists, and other third parties involved in the election results – through postal voting. It 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 ballot papers.
This can prevent a voter from changing or changing their postal vote and protect that voter from coercion and pressure from a political worker in a voter’s home, where – unlike in polling stations – there are no polling officers who could prevent such misconduct. Those in doubt should watch the North Carolina 9th Congressional District Race in 2018, which was overturned due to this type of criminal behavior.
Georgia House also expressed concern about the risks of unsecured, unguarded dropboxes for postal ballots. The bill limits the number of dropboxes a county can set up and requires that they be in the county’s registrar committee office or in places where an early vote is held. The Dropboxes must be constantly monitored by an election officer, law enforcement officer, or a licensed security officer.
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Another important provision is the ban on private funding of election officials and election officials, which happened in the 2020 elections. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated $ 350 million to an organization that distributed these funds to local electoral authorities across the country, including Georgia. These were supposedly “impartial” grants, but analysis by the Capital Research Center found the grants were “directed to well-known democratic districts for their base in battlefield states.”
There are many other changes to the Georgian law in the House of Representatives bill on other issues such as early voting and election observers to directly address the challenges facing the 2020 presidential election across the country. The bill is a great first step in the right direction to protect both access and security. This should be the main goal of a state’s electoral process.