Voters wait inline at the C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center in Atlanta on the first day of early voting for the senate runoff Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Photo by: Ben Gray/AP
By: The Associated Press & Scripps National
Lawmakers in Georgia have given final passage to GOP-sponsored legislation that seeks a sweeping overhaul of state election law on Thursday. Shortly after the bill passed, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill into law.
It includes provisions that would add new restrictions on voting by mail and giving the legislature greater control over how elections are run. Democrats and voting rights groups complained the bill would disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color.
It’s part of a wave of GOP-backed election bills introduced in states around the country after former President Donald Trump stoked false claims that fraud led to his 2020 election defeat.
President Joe Biden narrowly won the traditional GOP stronghold in November, boosted by a surge of voters utilizing early voting and mail-in ballots.
Opponents of the bill say that it will force voters in urban, generally more liberal areas, to stand in longer lines due. Proponents claim the bill will allow for more secure elections.
Last month, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced there were 35 cases of election fraud that resulted in criminal charges, out of more than 9 million votes cast between the general election and January Senate runoff. A number of the charges were for felons attempting to register or non-citizens attempting to register.
Meanwhile, Congress is considering legislation that would call on states to expand mail-in and no-excuse absentee voting while eliminating photo ID requirements. The legislation has the backing of Biden.