Georgia shocked the nation in the last election cycle with Democrats winning the presidency as well as a pair of Senate seats in the typically red state, leaving Republicans licking their wounds and jockeying for new legislation to make it harder for citizens to vote by mail in future contests.
Freshman State Sen. Jason Anavitarte on Wednesday introduced Senate Bill 29 which would make it mandatory for voters to make physical copies of their photo IDs and then mail them to election officials not once, but twice, before they are permitted to cast an absentee ballot, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The state’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who refused to endorse former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, gave the measure his full backing. During Kemp’s former tenure as a Georgia’s secretary of state, he was responsible for a massive voter roll purge before his race against then-gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D).
The Peach State, like almost every other state that does not have universal mail-in voting, saw a huge influx in absentee ballots in the last election that resulted in record-breaking turnout and no indications or evidence of widespread fraud. But with Democrats dominating a significant majority of Georgia’s mail-in voters, the GOP-dominated state legislature is trying clamp down on easy access to ballots.
Despite former President Trump’s repeated false claims that he actually won the state in November, several statewide audits and recounts found only minimal attempts to vote illegally, all of which were caught and did not count towards the total tabulation. Trump’s brazen attempt to convince Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to “find” the votes needed to reverse the outcome went nowhere.
Fair Fight, the voting rights organization spearheaded by Kemp’s erstwhile opponent Abrams, accused Republicans of trying to suppress Democratic voters, even if that increased other risks for Georgians.
“Republicans are trying to change the rules of GA elections – rules that they wrote – because they were humiliated on November 3 and again on January 5, and they know their only chance at winning future elections is to prevent eligible Georgians from casting their ballots,” the group wrote on Twitter. “Republicans are apparently even willing to risk the identity theft of Georgians in order to impose restrictions that by their own assessments are unnecessary to protect our elections.”
According to the AJC, the legislation—which would require voters to submit copies of their driver’s license, voter ID card, U.S. Passport, government employee ID, military ID card or tribal identification card—has the support of state executive branch officials including Lieutenant Gov. Geoff Duncan, House Speaker David Ralston, and Kemp.
“By requiring access to a printer, which many Georgians obviously do not have, Republicans are attempting to purposely take away the ability of many Georgians to vote by mail simply because they believe too many Democrats and too many people of color voted by mail,” wrote Fair Fight. “Georgians will see through these cynical power grabs, but it’s going to take a big fight on the part of everyone who cares about the right to vote in Georgia; Republicans are more desperate than ever to hold onto their waning power.”
[image via NBC screengrab]
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