Georgia legislature moves to restrict use of mail-in absentee ballots

Following up on claims of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election, numerous state legislatures are taking steps to address legitimate concerns about the integrity of the ballot, including Republican-led Georgia.

The Washington Examiner reported that — following a special deadline this past week — Georgia’s House and Senate continue to consider roughly a dozen election-reform bills which would create substantial changes to the way the state uses absentee ballots in future elections. 

Senate cracks down on absentee ballots

Chief among the election-reform bills is SB241, which was already passed by the Georgia Senate. If passed in the state House and signed into law, the bill will eliminate so-called “no-excuse” absentee ballot voting by limiting the eligibility requirements for a voter to acquire an absentee ballot.

Should that bill become law, the only Georgia voters who would be permitted to cast absentee ballots would be those who are 65 or older, absent from their precinct on Election Day, observing a religious holiday, residing overseas or deployed by the military, serving as a caretaker, or employed in an “essential worker” role and not have the ability to vote on the day of an election.

The bill would also establish a tip line for voters to report allegations of intimidation or irregularities and impose more oversight of the state legislature with regard to election boards and executive branch officials.

House moves to limit absentee voting

Meanwhile, the Georgia House has already passed a bill HB531, which, among a number of reform measures, would modify the way the state conducts primary elections, limit early weekend voting, and prohibit the use of private funding for elections.

According to The Hill, HB531 would also eliminate the prior signature matching requirement for absentee ballot applications and replace it with a more stringent valid ID requirement for voters to be eligible to receive a mail-in ballot.

Furthermore, the bill would also reduce the time period during which voters could apply for an absentee ballot and would limit the use of ballot drop-off boxes.

Restoring faith in the electoral process

Not surprisingly, Democrats and their media allies have cried foul at the aforementioned reforms and falsely alleged that they are purposefully designed and intended to oppress Black voters.

However, True The Vote, an organization focused on election integrity, noted in a recent press release that critics of the reform measures were being disingenuous about what the bills would actually do if signed into law.

Far from oppressing the rights of certain voters, the organization argued that the bills would actually serve to “verify, protect, and secure” the “sacred” right to vote and help to “eliminate fraud” and make sure that all valid ballots — and only valid ballots — were ultimately included in a final tally.

The group concluded, “With voter integrity being a top priority, Georgia’s omnibus bills aim to restore faith back into the elections process. Now it is time for more states to do the same.”

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