The Georgia House of Representatives passed a bill on Monday that would ensure a more secure election process in the state.
The bill is in reaction to Democrats taking advantage of loose election laws en route to a victory for President Joe Biden in the state, as well as victories for Democratic Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in runoff elections. House Bill 531 makes provisions for four key changes to the state election process.
“The far-reaching bill would require a photo ID for absentee voting, limit the amount of time voters have to request an absentee ballot, restrict where ballot drop boxes could be located and when they could be accessed, and limit early voting hours on weekends, among many other changes,” The Associated Press reported.
All of those actions are positive changes that will limit the possibility of voter fraud. While former President Donald Trump’s claims that the election was stolen in Georgia were most likely exaggerated, the fact remains that mail-in ballots, in particular, are subject to voter fraud.
After allegations of misconduct in the 2020 presidential election, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger ordered a signature audit of ballots in Cobb County. From a sample of 10 percent of the ballots, officials said they found “no fraudulent absentee ballots,” WGXA-TV reported on Dec. 29.
Despite that claim, many Georgia voters were still wary of the election process during the Jan. 5 runoff elections. Exit polls showed that up to 41 percent of all voters said they felt the presidential election was unfair, according to Forbes.
For Republican voters in particular, those numbers were much larger. While 93 percent of Democrats said they felt the election was fair, a staggering 76 percent of Republicans said they felt the opposite.
Any time election confidence is that low in a democratic society like ours, there is reason for concern. As a result, Georgia representatives drafted a bill that was meant to secure elections moving forward.
“House Bill 531 is designed to begin to bring back the confidence of our voters back into our election system,” Republican Rep. Barry Fleming, who was the chief sponsor of the bill, said, according to The AP.
In addition, the concerns from Republicans about voter registration seem to have some merit. Warnock recently came under investigation for possible misconduct while working for the New Georgia Project, a voter registration organization headed by radical leftist politician Stacey Abrams.
“Under Georgia election rules, voting registration organizations like the New Georgia Project have to submit completed voter applications within ten days after they are received from the voter,” Forbes reported.
“But officials allege that during a 2019 registration effort, some 1,268 applications were submitted to the Gwinnett County elections office after the ten-day deadline.”
Most of these small examples of misconduct are admittedly not enough to swing an entire election. However, they are enough to undermine the public’s confidence in the process, and they could continue to spiral out of hand if they are not addressed.
For those reasons, the Georgia House was right to draft a bill that would help shore up the process. Unsurprisingly, Democrats are accusing them of trying to disenfranchise minority voters.
“It’s pathetically obvious to anyone paying attention that when Trump lost the November election and Georgia flipped control of the U.S. Senate to Democrats shortly after, Republicans got the message that they were in a political death spiral,” Democratic state Rep. Renitta Shannon told The AP.
“And now they are doing anything they can to silence the voices of Black and brown voters specifically, because they largely powered these wins.”
To be clear, the proposals in this bill are not designed to silence the voices of legitimate voters, minority or otherwise. Instead, they are meant to weed out illegitimate votes, which should not be counted in any election.
Both parties should agree on the basic principle that legal votes need to be counted, and fraudulent votes need to be discarded. From Shannon’s statement, it is not clear whether she would agree with that principle.
This bill is designed to bolster election confidence by allowing for a more secure process where any legal voter can still register easily. By objecting to that, Democrats are effectively showing that they are not interested in a more secure election. That may not be their intent, but that is certainly how it appears.
If the left wants to show that they are concerned with the trustworthiness of elections and also with voting access for minorities, they could provide a plan of their own that they feel would achieve both of those things. Rather than doing that, they have just decried any Republicans who want secure elections by calling them racist.
The sanctity of elections should not be a partisan issue. Both Democrats and Republicans should work together to ensure that every American can be confident in our election system.
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