Voting was never easier in Georgia than in November’s presidential election. But it might not last.
Republican legislators plan to crack down on voting access after record turnout helped Democrat Joe Biden win Georgia, flipping the state after 24 years of GOP presidential wins.
They blame absentee ballots, used by 1.3 million Georgians who voted from home during the coronavirus pandemic. In all, 5 million people voted in the general election.
That era of widespread absentee voting will quickly come to an end if the Georgia General Assembly passes laws this year to eliminate no-excuse absentee voting, ballot drop boxes and unsolicited absentee ballot application mailings, as Republicans have proposed.
When the legislative session begins Monday,Democrats are bracing for a wave of bills from the Republican majority that would make it harder to vote in the name of preventing potential fraud. There’s no credible evidence of significant absentee ballot fraud in Georgia’s general election, according to state election officials. Isolated cases are under investigation by the secretary of state’s office.
“They lost, and now they want to change the rules to give themselves a competitive advantage,” said House Minority Leader James Beverly, a Democrat from Macon. “The pendulum swings, and people can see through this foolishness in the truest sense of suppression and disenfranchisement.”
Republicans say they need to protect election integrity from the possibility of cheating. Some of the legislators seeking to limit absentee voting also signed onto a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the state of Texas’ failed lawsuit to overturn Georgia’s election results.