What You Need to Know About *THAT* Georgia Voting Bill

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the new voting law passed by Georgia’s state legislature. There’s been a ton of media coverage, and some businesses and responding- Major League Baseball has even pulled their All Star Game out of the state in response. Why is this bill causing so much buzz? Here are some highlights you need to know:

 

Voters will need a form of identification to apply for an absentee ballot.

Acceptable forms include a drivers’ license, social security number, student ID, bank statement, or pay stub, among others.

 

A nonpartisan chair will be appointed to the state election board.

Previously, the Georgia Secretary of State oversaw the state election board. With this bill, the state legislature will appoint a nonpartisan chair to this post. Critics of the bill are raising concerns that this could cause conflicts of interest. 

 

It requires each county in Georgia to have at least one dropbox available.

In 2020, drop boxes were authorized for emergency use in Georgia due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This law will make dropbox availability a requirement. With that said, the drop boxes must be located at early voting locations or election offices.

 

Significant changes to absentee voting.

With this law in place, absentee ballots can be sent out to voters 29 days before an election (previously, they were sent 49 days before the election). Voters may request an absentee ballot 78 days before an election, down from 180 days. State and local governments may not send out unsolicited absentee ballot applications- this is a change from 2020, when all registered voters were mailed an application. 

 

Rules on food and drink.

Voters cannot be given food or drink within 150 feet of a polling place. This provision is included in the same paragraph as the provision banning campaign activity within certain areas of a polling place. However, this provision does not ban voters from purchasing food or drink for themselves.

 

Read the full bill here.