The Georgia state legislature on Thursday passed a piece of legislation that will impact various aspects of Peach State elections.
The bill, backed by GOP legislators, passed in the state House of Representatives in a 100-75 party-line vote and then later on Thursday the state Senate by a 34-20 party-line vote agreed with the House changes. It comes after a tight 2020 presidential contest in the state.
One aspect of the legislation is that it would nix the verification of mail ballots through signatures, but people would need to supply their drivers license or state ID number or a photocopy of some other acceptable form of identification, according to ABC News.
Another part of the legislation would prohibit the giving away of food or drink to people waiting in line to cast their vote, though ABC News indicates that this would not apply to self-service water stations.
“Secure ballot drop boxes are not explicitly sanctioned under current state law, and this bill would change that, but it would also implement new restrictions on their use compared to what voters experienced in the 2020 cycle,” according to ABC News. “Unless there’s a health emergency, drop boxes could only be inside advance voting locations and only accessible when those locations are open. This means voters could not use them during the three days preceding an election or on Election Day — the period when returning an absentee ballot by mail is most risky since it must arrive by 7 p.m. on Election Day to count.”
Under the legislation, the time span between elections and runoffs would be cut from nine weeks to just four weeks.
ABC News reported that “while counties would be able to start early voting ‘as soon as possible,’ the bill only requires it be offered Monday through Friday the week before the election — a much shorter mandate that includes no weekend days. Complicating this further is the possibility that the week lines up with Thanksgiving, when many are traveling. This bill also bans early voting on holidays,” the outlet said.
But regarding primaries and general elections, early voting would need to be available on two Saturdays and counties would have the opportunity to also offer it on Sundays: “For primaries and general elections, counties would be required to have advance voting on both Saturdays and have the option to do it on the two Sundays that fall in the three-week period, too. Current law only mandates one Saturday of early voting,” according to ABC News.