State Passes Election Law Overhaul, New Voter ID Rules, Limits on Absentee Mail-In Voting

The Georgia state Senate approved legislation Monday to strengthen the state’s voter ID laws while putting limits on who may receive an absentee ballot.

The bill, Senate Bill 241, passed the chamber in a party-line 29-20 vote, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The legislation is moving to the House where it is expected to pass before heading to the desk of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who has not signaled whether he intends to sign the legislation.

Under the new bill, the state would ban so-called no-excuse absentee voting, limiting the number of people who can apply for absentee ballots to those over 65 years of age, those who have a physical disability, and those who are out of town. The new bill would also require voters to present a driver’s license or some other form of identification before receiving their absentee ballot.

Republicans backed the bill arguing that new election protections were needed after Georgia’s November election sparked national scrutiny of the state’s voting practices and multiple ballot recounts. GOP lawmakers argued that a more secure voting process is needed to restore the public’s trust in the state’s elections.

Democrats have charged that the bill is a Republican attempt to suppress voting after the party lost two January runoff elections for U.S. Senate seats. Former state representative and failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams likened the legislation to “Jim Crow” segregation laws. She also accused the GOP of expressly trying to suppress black voters.

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