Georgia legislature introduces bills to plug holes in state election system
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ATLANTA, March 3, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Republican lawmakers in Georgia introduced legislation aimed at preventing a repeat of the disputed legitimacy of the 2020 elections, though questions remain as to whether the measures will adequately close every potential avenue for vote fraud.
The Epoch Times reported that Republicans in each chamber of the state legislature introduced their own proposal for reforms to state election rules.
The House bill, which has already passed the chamber 97-72, would require absentee ballots to include identification (such as a driver’s license number, state ID card, or a utility bill containing a name and address), cut the window for requesting an absentee ballot from 180 days to 78 days (with all early votes received 11 days before Election Day), ban the mailing of unsolicited absentee ballot applications, reduce the period for runoff elections from nine weeks to four weeks, impose new restrictions on the number, location, and supervision of ballot drop boxes, and ban politicking (soliciting votes, distributing campaign literature, etc.) within 25 feet of people standing in line to vote or within 150 feet of a polling place itself.
However, the bill still allows residents to cast absentee votes without demonstrating a specific need (such as medical incapacitation or military service), does not abolish ballot drop boxes, and does not keep activists completely away from those waiting to vote. It also does not address calls to replace Georgia’s runoff system with more conventional primaries. The state’s Republican Senate candidates won more votes than Democrats on Election Night, but went on to lose both races on the January 5 runoff election, giving Democrats unified control of the federal government.
The Senate bill, which passed 35-18, contains similar provisions, but is somewhat stronger in that it completely eliminates no-excuse absentee voting. It remains to be seen what combination of measures will ultimately result from lawmakers reviewing both proposals in conference.
Georgia was a focal point for the battle over the integrity of the 2020 presidential election, due in large part to alleged deficiencies in the state’s signature-matching procedures, suspicious video of ballots being counted after hours, revelations about homeless residents being allowed to use the address of an Atlanta charity instead of valid proof of residence, and changes made to the state’s absentee ballot rules without legislative approval.