CNN: Putting ‘cologne on Jim Crow’: Georgia GOP lawmakers drive toward new voting restrictions
03.22.2021 / By Fredreka Schouten and Kelly Mena
CNN: Putting 'cologne on Jim Crow': Georgia GOP lawmakers drive toward new voting restrictions
(CNN)Republican lawmakers in Georgia are racing to pass sweeping bills that would clamp down on ballot access and give legislators new powers over elections, following record voter turnout in 2020 that helped Democrats seize the White House and control of the US Senate.
Crucial action comes this week. The state’s GOP-controlled General Assembly has only five legislative workdays left on its calendar before it adjourns March 31. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate say they plan to finalize changes to election bills in the days ahead.
An omnibus bill that a key House committee is expected to take up Monday would impose identification requirements for absentee voting, limit the use of ballot drop boxes and disqualify most provisional ballots cast outside of voters’ home precincts. It also would make it a misdemeanor to provide food or soft drinks to voters as they wait in line. …
Voting rights activists say the measures under consideration would restrict ballot access for wide swaths of Georgia’s increasingly diverse population.
Aunna Dennis, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, said ID requirements for obtaining absentee ballots, would harm older voters, those who are low-income, and college students because they are all less likely to have driver’s licenses or other forms of required identification, such as passports or a state or federal photo identification card.
Georgia currently uses signature matching in absentee voting, which Republican lawmakers argue is an unreliable way to verify voters’ identities. A signature-match audit in Cobb County, Georgia, following last November’s general election, found “no fraudulent absentee ballots with a 99% confidence threshold,” according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.
The Georgia House bill would require voters to provide their driver’s license numbers or state ID numbers and other identifying information, such as their date of birth, on the ballots.
Georgia Republicans “are saying that voting should be for the 1% and … for the privileged,” Dennis told CNN.