Governor Quickly Signs New Voting Restrictions

Georgia Legislature Approves Election Overhaul, Including Changes To Absentee Voting

Democrats have their own voting rights bill proceeding through Congress, hoping to defend voter access on a national level.

Changing demographics in the USA may mean that in the next few decades they lose paths to national power; the population is becoming more diverse and educated, and people of color and with a higher level of education tend to vote Democratic. Led by then-President Donald Trump, elected Republican officials began to disingenuously cry foul about new voting laws that were passed in anticipation of an unusual election season: due to COVID-19 and higher expected voter turnout, many states around the country implemented laws that would make it easier for people to vote without exposing themselves to the virus or waiting in extremely long lines.

With opposition gathering outside his office, Gov. Brian Kemp signed new voting restrictions into law Thursday less than an hour after they passed the General Assembly. Stacey Abrams, who played a key role in flipping the state, called the effort "a redux of Jim Crow in a suit and tie". West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said Thursday he believes his fellow Democrats must focus on the parts of the legislation where they can work with Republicans.

The 39-bill package would let 16- and 17-year-olds preregister to vote, create an "early voting" day 10 days before Election Day, require training of partisan election challengers, and mandate video monitoring of all ballot drop boxes. "Lies upon lies were told about our elections in response, and now this bill is before us built on those same lies".

Republican Rep. Jan Jones said the provisions cutting the time people have to request an absentee ballot are meant to "increase the likelihood of a voter's vote being cast successfully", after concerns were raised in 2020 about mail ballots not being received by counties in time to be counted.

The legislature also has oversight of proposed changes to election rules by the Secretary of State and state elections board. It also allows the board to remove and replace county election officials deemed to be underperforming.

Republican Rep. Barry Fleming, who has been a driving force in crafting the bill, said that provision would only be a "temporary fix, so to speak, that ends and the control is turned back over to the locals after the problems are resolved".

The law also reduces the timeframe in which runoff elections are held, including the amount of early voting for runoffs.

The bill would also bar outside groups from handing out food or water to people standing in line to vote. It would instead mandate two Saturdays of early voting ahead of general elections, when only one is now mandatory, and leave two Sundays as optional.

People close to Biden previously told CNN that his resistance to changes in Senate rules stems from a staunch respect for its traditions and practices and an awareness that Democrats won't always be in the majority.

About 50 protesters including representatives from the NAACP gathered across from the Capitol building Thursday in opposition.

Overall, the bill will touch almost every facet of elections, like a section that aims to provide more information about vote totals as results come in. "Now, when they try to pass this racist legislation, we can't get him to say anything".

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