Georgia lawmakers will likely wrangle over changes to absentee voting

Georgia lawmakers will likely wrangle over changes to absentee voting

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - There could be multiple bills proposed in Georgia that could affect future elections. Most of them are led by state Republicans.

A few Democrat senators say they see these bills as an example of voter suppression and will limit Georgians’ ability to vote if made into law.

Several bills introduced in the state senate target absentee by mail voting. Democrat State Senators Lester Jackson and Nikki Merritt believe these bills have been introduced in retaliation after Republicans lost the presidency and two Senate seats.

“Voting by mail has worked for our military. Our military that is fighting across this nation protecting our freedom. It works for them, but when it comes for Georgians being able to vote, the Republican party is trying to be more restrictive and give less access of Georgians to vote by mail and that we have to stop,” Sen. Jackson said.

Bills like Senate Bill 71 would require an absentee voter to provide an explanation for voting absentee. On top of that, Senate Bill 67 would require those wanting to vote absentee to send in a copy of their photo ID when requesting a ballot.

“Your absentee ballot is supposed to be private and that is in the Georgia law so I don’t see how attaching your ID to an absentee ballot or application gives you that privacy that’s already built in to the Georgia Constitution, so we have some legal challenges there,” Sen. Merritt said.

Other bills like Senate Bill 72 would require county registrars to identify dead voters monthly. Senate Bill 68 would require the state to revise how absentee ballots are delivered.

Sen. Jackson says these bills among others play into false conspiracies about election fraud and remind him of obstacles put in place to keep minorities from voting.

“We’re finding out now what happened in the 60s in the 50s is still happening today. We must continue to fight for our right to vote in this process and there are people that want to keep us back, but we will not. We are Georgians. We are Americans and it is our right to participate in the voting process, but we cannot do it without a fight,” Sen. Jackson said.

Democrats have introduced legislation to counteract some of these bills. Both senators are encouraging residents to call their local and state officials if they have concerns about bills on the legislative agenda.

WTOC did reach out to multiple Republican representatives in Chatham County and the surrounding area that serve in the state house and senate in regard to this story. However, they either declined to interview or did not get back to us.

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