The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would revise many of the options available to Georgians on a party-political basis.
House Bill 531, sponsored by Republican MP Barry Fleming, adds additional ID requirements for postal ballot papers and restricts the use of postal ballot boxes for postal ballot papers. It also prohibits private funding of election operations, restricts the use of private venues as polling stations except in emergencies, and reduces pre- and weekend voting.
“House Bill 531 aims to restore our electorate’s confidence in our electoral system. A key part of this effort is to make several revisions that will make it easier for our local election officials to manage the elections, ”Fleming said.
The bill would also shorten the time between the general election and the runoff elections, and eliminate those for all free primaries like the one for the US Senate race last year with more than 20 candidates. In addition, the legislature can elect the chairman of the State Electoral Committee, a position currently occupied by the State Secretary.
“This bill separates that legislative role from the officer who must exercise the executive role to ensure that these laws and rules are followed,” Fleming said.
The draft law also tries to initiate existing measures, e.g. B. the training of election workers, a special security paper for ballot papers and public notices for the testing of voting machines.
Recent polls showed a severe loss of confidence in the election-only among Republicans following a campaign of disinformation about the November elections, launched by former President Donald Trump and immortalized by many GOP members of the Georgia General Assembly.
Democratic MP Calvin Smyre spoke out against House Bill 531, saying he had restricted access to early voting. (Emil Moffatt / WABE)
The spokesman, Republican Jan Jones, denies claims that electoral laws will only be changed because of Republican losses in the last electoral cycle.
“The time has come again, given the lessons we learned from the introduction of the new voting system and an unprecedented pandemic that exposed extreme strains on our electoral system such as the need for greater transparency, consistency and trust,” said Jones.
Jones says she supports the ban on mobile voting units such as those used in Fulton County during early voting last year. She claims little public notice was given, despite the fact that the County Board of Commissioners approved mobile voting venues several weeks in advance and Fulton County also held a press conference to announce the use of the units.
Protesters sang and showed signs in front of the Georgia Capitol against House Bill 531. (Emil Moffatt / WABE)
Democratic MP Jasmine Clark said the changes made by the law will not only harm minority voters, but will affect Republican voters as well.
“This bill cuts off your nose to piss off your face,” said Clark. “Instead of reducing, narrowing and narrowing our elections, we should work in this chamber to make voting more accessible. A “yes” to that bill will come back to bite you. “
“On more than one occasion, I’ve found that voting is a valuable right,” said Democratic MP Calvin Smyre, dean of Georgia House. “Many sacrifices were made and many died for the right to vote.”
The bill goes to the Senate, where a separate collective bill was also proposed.