Georgia’s Republican state Senate passed a bill late Monday that would limit absentee voting and implement other expansive changes to the state’s election system.
The bill passed 29-20 after its introduction last week and now returns to the state House, where it is expected to pass before heading to GOP Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk.
To vote absentee under the new bill, Georgians would either need to be 65 or older, away from their home precinct, observing a religious holiday, working in an essential role when polls are open or in the military.
The bill also establishes strict voter ID measures, with identification required to both obtain an absentee ballot and return it.
If signed, the bill would reverse Georgia’s no-excuse absentee voting policies which were adopted in 2005.
Republicans have said the bill is aimed at restoring voter confidence in elections.
“I want every legal vote counted, timely and accurately, and I want better access for all voters,” Georgia state Sen. Butch Miller told CNN.
“Even those of us who never claimed that the election was stolen recognize that the electorate has lost confidence in the legitimacy of the system. We must work to restore that.”
The bill would also limit the use of mobile voting locations, require court approval to extend polling hours and grant the state legislature power to block emergency voting changes.
Democrats claimed that the law is unconstitutional and vowed to contest it if enacted.
“This blatantly unconstitutional legislation will not go unchallenged,” Lauren Groh-Wargo, CEO of the voting rights group Fair Fight Action, said Monday.
“It’s time for leaders across Georgia to step up and oppose this dangerous bill before it goes any further. We will continue to fight in Georgia, in the courts, and in Congress to make sure that Georgians’ voting rights are not infringed.”
The bill is one of many election reforms that have been introduced across the country.
Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law on Monday requiring voters to request an absentee ballot application instead of automatically receiving one from the state, shortening early voting from 29 to 20 days and closing polls at 8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. on Election Day.
In Arizona, a bill introduced by Republican state Rep. Shawnna Bolick would give the legislature the power to overturn the state’s election results even if they have been certified by the governor and counted by Congress.
In Congress, Democrats passed a sweeping election bill that would outlaw partisan gerrymandering, completely federalize the electoral process, legalize controversial measures like ballot harvesting and lower the voting age to 16.
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