Voting Laws Changed In Red State

Photo by Elliott Stallion on Unsplash

Georgia Republicans want to make it easier to kick voters off the rolls using mass challenges, according to reporting by NBC News citing a copy of the bill given to them by the aide to two of the bill’s sponsors.

On Tuesday (February 28) night, lawmakers proposed changes to the challenge rule in Senate Bill 221.

Following the news breaking, the state’s Senate released a proposal draft.

Last year alone, at least 92,000 voter registrations were challenged, many by amateur fraud hunters using techniques like checking voter rolls, assessing change of address data and other public records, and door-to-door canvassing to prove that a voter was ineligible.

Many of the challenges were rejected.

Some counties explained that forwarding mail wasn’t sufficient evidence to conclude a voter had moved.

Advocates and election administrators added that people might spend time at other addresses without having abandoned Georgia residency.

Senate Bill 221 would end the assertion that forwarding mail isn’t sufficient evidence.

Instead, SB 221 states that a voter appearing on the postal service’s change of address database would “constitute sufficient cause to sustain the challenge against the elector” unless the voter meets predetermined criteria, like being a student.

Whether sustaining a challenge would cause a voter’s registration to be canceled or require further action from county or election officials is unclear. But advocates for voting rights cautioned against the change, claiming it would be “disastrous.”

An attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, Vasu Abhiraman, argued that SB 221 would violate federal voting rights law and expressed hope that it is “immediately thrown out of court.”