It looks like Republican lawmakers in Georgia have heeded President Donald Trump’s warnings about the increased use of absentee and mail-in ballots and the legitimate risk to election integrity posed by the potential for fraudulent voting.
The Georgia Senate just passed a bill to require voter ID for absentee ballot applications by a party-line vote of 35 to 18, Breitbart reported.
The state House is also working on legislation that would add voter identification requirements to the application process for absentee and mail-in ballots.
Valid ID required for ballot applications
According to Georgia Public Broadcasting, the just-passed bill, known as SB 67, would require some form of valid ID from voters when filling out a paper application for an absentee or mail-in ballot.
That requirement would bring the paper application process in line with the online application process and in-person voting, both of which already required voters to provide a valid form of ID.
While a photo ID would obviously be preferred, voters can also provide the number from their driver’s license or a state ID card to confirm their identity when filling out the ballot application.
Georgia Democrats, who were unified in opposition to the bill, argued that the additional requirement will be overly burdensome on voters, prove costly to counties, and even result in the disenfranchisement of some voters who may be unable to provide a valid ID — critiques that were dismissed by Majority Caucus Vice Chair Sen. Larry Walker (R), who sponsored the bill.
“It’s not about disenfranchising voters, it’s not about overly burdening the electorate,” Walker said, according to GPB. “It is about efficiency and security and election integrity and allowing the Georgia public to have confidence in the vote.”
Georgia House Republicans working toward similar ID requirement
Meanwhile, the Gwinnett Daily Post reported that, over in the Georgia House, Republican lawmakers were putting the final touches on a bill that contained a variety of election-related changes, including a similar provision requiring a valid ID for voters applying for an absentee or mail-in ballot.
That provision would require voters to provide their driver’s license or state ID card number, if not a photocopy of a valid ID, in order to receive a ballot. The outlet further noted that if a voter was unable to provide a photocopy or ID number, other forms of ID would also be considered acceptable, such as a passport or employee ID card, or even a bank statement or utility bill with a valid mailing address.
“Recently, many of our citizens have expressed a lack of faith and integrity in our current election systems,” the Senate Republican Caucus said in a statement, according to the GDP. “We have heard these concerns voiced by many — and addressing these concerns has been at the forefront of our legislative efforts this year to promote the good of the state.”
There are numerous other election integrity-related provisions being considered by legislators, with varying degrees of support. However, the voter ID requirement for absentee and mail-in ballot applications has already received the support of Gov. Brian Kemp (R), so as long as it doesn’t get tied in with other unacceptable provisions, that requirement is on its way to becoming state law.