Georgia Election Bill to Prevent Absentee Voter Debacle Advances in State Senate

Written by Kyle Becker

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that a bill has advanced in the Georgia state senate that would demand prospective voters include their “driver’s license number, state ID number or a copy of photo ID when requesting an absentee ballot.”

The current bill, entitled SB67, has passed a Georgia senate committee, AJC reported Thursday:

Georgia voters would be required to include their driver’s license number, state ID number or a copy of photo ID when requesting an absentee ballot, according to a bill approved by a Senate committee on Thursday.

The proposal for more rigorous absentee ballot ID requirements passed the Senate Ethics Committee on a 7-4 vote along party lines. Senate Bill 67 could reach the full Senate for a vote next week.

Democrats opposed the bill, saying it would create obstacles for voters seeking to cast absentee ballots, especially those who lack a driver’s license or state ID card.

There has been a flurry of Georgia election activity to provide the state with more election and integrity and voter trust. AJC reporter Mark Niesse reported the big developments on Thursday:

The news comes amid a controversy over the status of a Fulton County elections official.  AJC reported that it is currently unclear if the county’s elections director Richard Barron would indeed be “fired”:

The Fulton County Commission made no decision on the county elections director’s firing Wednesday, hours after a state monitor said the ouster of Richard Barron alone wouldn’t fix Fulton’s long-running problems.Fulton’s elections board voted to fire Barron on Tuesday, and since then it has been an open question as to whether that decision must be ratified by a majority of the county commission, which met in closed-door executive session for nearly two hours Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Niesse reported that a Senate subcommittee voted 3-2 to end “at-will” absentee voting in Georgia, which would make it “only available to those over 75, a doctor’s note or out of town. SB71 advances to full committee.”

It should be noted that this is the legal, proper and constitutional way for states to make changes to election law.

In January, U.S. Senate control swung to the Democratic Party after two tight Senate races with late-breaking votes resulted in declared victories for Ossoff and Warnock. As reported by Vox News:

Democrats won both Georgia runoff elections — and control of the U.S. Senate. Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent in the special election, and Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican David Perdue, whose term as senator expired on Sunday, 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent in the regularly scheduled contest.

Raphael Warnock is up for another Senate election race in 2022. David Perdue has already filed paperwork to run again against Warnock.

In December, the Associated Press reported the results of the 2020 presidential election, after over a month of delays:

Georgia’s top elections official on Monday recertified the state’s election results after a recount requested by President Donald Trump confirmed once again that Democrat Joe Biden won the state, and the governor then recertified the state’s 16 presidential electors.

“We have now counted legally cast ballots three times, and the results remain unchanged,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said.

“Georgia law allows a losing candidate to request a recount if the margin between the candidates is within 0.5%,” the AP pointed out. “Trump requested the recount after the results certified by Raffensperger showed that Biden led by a margin of 12,670 votes, or 0.25% of the roughly 5 million ballots cast.”

One of the disputes at the heart of the Georgia election fallout was over ballot rejection rates. A Reuters fact check attempting to dispel concerns about mail-in voting in the aftermath of the Georgia election notes the plummeting drop-off in ballot rejection rates:

According to the nonprofit, nonpartisan organisation Ballotpedia, Georgia rejected 6.42% of mail-in ballots in total in the 2016 general election and 3.10% in total in the 2018 midterm (here). These totals include rejections because of signatures, but also include, for example, ballots received late or past deadlines, problems with return materials or a voter having already voted in person.

While Reuters cites Ballotpedia’s data it omits the reported 2020 ballot-rejection rate in Georgia for the reasons listed above: 0.35%. This ballot rejection rate is a large significant drop-off from prior elections.  The New York Times earlier reported the widespread drop-off in mail-in ballot rejection rates in the 2020 election.

Georgia’s bill is an attempt to restore normalcy to its election process. The rest of America should follow suit.

NOW READ: California Suddenly Pushes Strict ‘Signature Match’ for Gavin Newsom Recall Drive

This article contains editorial commentary.


OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.