Politics

Georgia Governor Signs Into Law Sweeping Election Reform Measures, Including Voter Id For Absentee Ballots

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday signed into law a number of election reforms that include photo ID requirements for absentee voting, the need for drop box security, and mandatory early voting dates, among other changes to how the state’s elections are run.

“I was proud to sign S. B. 202 to ensure elections in Georgia are secure, fair, and accessible,” Republican Kemp announced on Twitter. “I appreciate the hard work of members of the General Assembly to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

Prior to its signing, the 95-page bill (pdf) passed the state House by a 100-75 vote and the state Senate by a 34-20 vote, with Republicans in support. Republicans currently hold a majority in both chambers. No Democrats voted for the reform measures.

Georgia’s contested presidential election results were certified in favor of now-President Joe Biden. The once-reliable red state later saw Democratic victories for two remaining U. S. Senate runoffs in early January which secured a 50-50 Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris tipping the house to a Democrat-majority.

“With Senate Bill 202, Georgia will take another step toward ensuring that our elections are secure, accessible, and fair,” Kemp said in livestreamed remarks shortly after signing the bill.

“After November, I knew like so many of you that significant reforms to our state elections were needed,” Kemp added. “There’s no doubt there were many alarming issues with how the election was handled and those problems understandably led to the crisis of confidence at the ballot box here in Georgia.”

The new law, the Election Integrity Act of 2021, requires a Georgia driver’s license or a state-issued or state-approved ID in order to vote absentee by mail. This replaces the current signature match process that was in place, which Kemp called “time consuming, labor-intensive, and at times arbitrary.”

More than 1.3 million Georgian voters had opted to vote absentee by mail in the 2020 presidential election and the state underwent multiple manual and machine recounts, and an absentee ballot signature match audit but only in one county.

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“When voting in person in Georgia, you must have a photo ID. It only makes sense for the absentee ballot to have the same standard as well,” Kemp said, adding that the new state-issued ID requirement will “dramatically streamline … (Read more)

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