Ga. Senate panel backs ID mandate for absentee voting

A worker at the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections works to process absentee...
A worker at the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections works to process absentee ballots at the State Farm Arena Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Atlanta.(Source: AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 12:01 PM EST
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ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia state Senate committee has approved a Republican-backed bill that would add a photo ID requirement for absentee voting.

It comes after a surge in absentee ballots helped Democrats win the state’s presidential election and two U.S. Senate runoffs.

The Senate Ethics Committee voted Thursday in favor of Senate Bill 67.

The bill would require that a person include their driver’s license number, other state ID number or a photocopy of an approved ID when submitting an absentee ballot application.

The bill could soon move to the full state Senate for a vote.

Democrats and voting rights groups say the measure is unnecessary and will only disenfranchise lawful voters.

Currently, there is no photo ID requirement for absentee voting, and voters are verified by their signature.

The committee also approved:

  • Senate Bill 89, to create a position for a new election official who could intervene in “low-performing” county election offices. The state election board would create the criteria for what constitutes an underperforming county.
  • Legislation to mandate that counties begin to process absentee ballots before election day, a rule Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger began implementing last election cycle.
  • A bill to shorten the amount of time counties have to report records of who voted in an election from 60 days to 30 days.
  • Senate Bill 188, to require the secretary of state to create a public-facing portal that shows how many total ballots were cast by method, before any results could be reported. If passed, the measure could delay results being released by several days.

Also in the news ...

  • The elections director in Georgia’s most populous county remains in his job for now. Fulton County leaders on Wednesday failed to take action on the county election board’s recommendation to fire Rick Barron. Motions to accept and reject the county election board’s Tuesday decision to fire Barron both failed for lack of enough votes. County spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt said that the matter will come back before the board at its next meeting on March 3, and Barron remains elections director at least until then. The county came under fire after the June primary, when some voters waited in line for hours at polling places and some never received requested absentee ballots.

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