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Voter suppression or election security? Local leaders weigh in on changes to Georgia voting

Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 5:55 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, G.a. (WRDW/WAGT) - We take a closer look at what the new voting law in Georgia really entails.

If you’ve checked Twitter today, you’ll see reactions from local leaders about the new changes this bill could bring. From Stacey Abrams, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, politician Elizabeth Warren, the list goes on.

Democrats call it voter suppression, while Republicans call it election security.

Even Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock did point out that the bill signed into law last night is not as restrictive as it was originally proposed.

Voters who fill out absentee ballots now need a photo I.D. to submit their vote.

Last year, more than one million Georgians voted absentee. Republican leaders say this is a much-needed step to secure valid voting.

“You have to have an I.D. to go to the James Brown toy giveaway. You have to have an I.D. to go to your doctor’s office, different things like that. So there’s no excuse not to have an I.D. to vote,” said Chairman Debbie McCord of the Columbia County GOP.

The law also cuts off the time to request an absentee ballot 11 days before an election. And ballot drop boxes must now be placed inside and can only be accessed during voting hours.

The law also bans outside parties from passing out food or water to voters waiting in line.

Those against it call it an attack on Democracy.

“I feel as if the GOP has seen that when there’s historic voter turnout in Georgia, the outcome doesn’t necessarily go in their favor,” Silas Battle with BLACC said.

But Columbia County GOP feels the law may not go far enough.

“I think this is a good start. It may not go as far as some of us would have liked in terms of getting rid of no-excuse absentee voting,” McCord said.

With both sides very vocal on the law, it’s likely this is only the first step in a long legal process.

Just in the last couple of hours, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued a statement responding to a comment President Joe Biden made against the law.

The governor says the bill expands voting access, streamlines vote-counting procedures, and ensures election integrity.

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