Committee Urged to Reject Amendment, Pass SB 463

Statement by Aunna Dennis, Executive Director of Common Cause Georgia

Common Cause Georgia and other voting rights organizations are closely monitoring the Legislature’s consideration of SB 463.

A substitute for SB 463 was introduced this morning. The new version would empower counties in hiring poll workers; decrease health risks to voters aged 70+; and streamline voter registration. But an amendment was added that would prohibit the Secretary of State and county elections officials from mailing absentee ballot applications to voters, except for voters who specifically request them.

Back in March, we supported Secretary of State Raffensperger’s decision to send absentee ballot applications to all active voters.

Many states across the country are now adopting Secretary Raffensperger’s policy of mailing applications directly to voters.

This amendment to SB 463 would be a step backward. It would eliminate an option that Georgia’ elections officials will likely need in the fall elections.

Voters should not ever be forced to choose between their health and exercising their right to vote. In pandemic conditions, sending absentee ballot applications to voters is one of the best ways to ensure their ability to vote safely.

This amendment would create unnecessary, arbitrary obstacles to voting.

We urge the Rules Committee to reject this amendment, that needlessly takes power away from the Secretary of State and county election officials, and then pass SB 463.