“The Election Integrity Act 2021,” significantly known as the “Georgia voting law” or “Georgia senate bill,” is a new law that enforces some new changes in the voting system in Georgia, one of the states of the United States of America. The new law was established to prevent corruption from the state.
The bill was introduced on February 17, 2021, while the Senate voted on March 8 and the legislative assembly voted on March 25. After that, on March 25, 2021, it became a new law.
Rules and regulations of voting law
The new voting law of Georgia has some rules and regulations. The voters have to have proper identification to prove before casting their vote. It limits the use of ballot boxes; nobody can offer any type of food or drink to the voters during the time of voting or when they are waiting to cast their vote. To reduce the number of times people have to request an absentee ballot, increase voting stations, staff for the easy voting process, no third party will be allowed to put their share in the election process.
1- Ballot drop boxes
During the time of the presidential election in 2020, due to the covid 19 situation, the officials are allowed to use the ballot boxes; however, in the new voting law, ballot boxes barely exist.
2- Voter ID
The voters need to have their “driving license,” the last four digits of their social security number, and a photocopy of the accepted form of the ballot.
3- Absentee ballot request
Now the voters will have a limited time to request their absentee ballot.
4- Early in-person voting
The bill demands 3 weeks of early in-person voting, which includes 2 Saturdays and 2 Sundays; it also bans mobile voting systems.
5- Legislative control of the election administration
The new law gave all the control of the election administration to the legislature. The legislature controls all the processes during the voting time.
6- Long voting lines
Long voting lines were a major problem in Georgia because of its rural communities, so the new law was enforced to reduce the long voting line.
7- Providing free food and water
Providing free food and water is now banned as for the new law in Georgia because the volunteers of a certain party provide free food and water just because they want the people’s vote in their favor, but now the new law has banned this system.
8- Polling location
Before, the people of Georgia could cast their vote from any polling location, but now, as for the new law, it is banned and a lot harder to cast a vote in the wrong polling location.
9- Private funding of election
As Georgia was a less urban state before, some companies funded for the election to occur, but due to the recent voting law, this system is now banned.
Why is Georgia’s voting law unconstitutional?
After the new voting law was passed on March 25, 2020, several people like activists, journalists, lawyers, and other people intended to oppose this law; the lawsuit against the Secretary of state and the members of the election board was filed by non-profit organizations, several voters and journalists.
The main reason behind the lawsuit is it threatened the fundamental rights to vote, freedom of speech, and the separation of power. While an open meeting board always manages the election board, replacing it with a single person authority hampers the democratic system of government because a single person will make all the decisions. The new law enforced a signing ballot process before the election; however, the lawsuit finds it unnecessary because a person’s name, licenses are important enough to cast their vote but signing an acceptance form before the absentee ballot seems unnecessary.
Georgia voting law compared to other states.
No-excuse absentee ballot
Before the new voting law, Georgia and other states offered a No-excuse absentee ballot, but after the new law, Georgia lawmakers considered eliminating the no-excuse absentee ballot.
Deadline to request an absentee ballot
Some states of the United States allow their voters to apply for an absentee ballot in less than seven days, but after the new voting law, Georgia became one of the states that set the deadline above seven days.
Verifying absentee ballot
While other states of the united states verify their voters with the signature in the absentee ballot and compare it with the existing signature, Georgia became the only state where the voters need to submit their driving license before casting their vote.
Ballot drop boxes
All the states allow voters to return ballot boxes through email. At the local election office, almost all states allow them to drop off the ballot boxes; however, Georgia’s voting law enforced the bare existence of the ballot box.
Food and drinks for the voters
All the states limit the campaigning near the polling places. They regulate the behavior of volunteers who give food and drinks to the voters; after the voting law in Georgia, the election administration banned food and drinks given to the voters by the volunteers; however, self-service is allowed.
Georgia’s new voting laws face many assumptions. Also, there is a lot of criticism going on regarding this matter among the states. Some say it’s unconstitutional, while others say it’s against the black people and a racist law; however, this new law of Georgia will surely affect the nation’s politics.