Controversial voting law changes in Georgia


New voting laws in the state of Georgia spark controversy, but why?

The sweeping rewrite of Georgia’s election rules represents the first extensive set of changes since former president Donald Trump’s repeated fraudulent claims following his presidential loss to Joe Biden.

Trump zeroed in on his loss in the state, even as two Democrats won election to the U.S. Senate in January, flipping control of the chamber to the Democratic party. The 98-page measure signed into law Thursday by Republican Governor Brian Kemp makes numerous changes to how elections will be administered, including a new photo ID requirement for voting absentee by mail.

Republican supporters believe the law is needed to restore confidence in Georgia’s elections, while Democrats say it will restrict voting access, especially for minority voters. 

Specific details of the law include the following changes:  the handing out of “any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink” to anyone standing in line to vote is now a misdemeanor. The prohibition extends 150 feet from a polling place and 25 feet from any person standing in line.

Previously, one day of weekend voting was required, with counties given the option of offering more. Now, two Saturdays will be required, and counties can offer two Sunday voting days as well. Republicans point to this provision to argue they are expanding, rather than restricting, voting access. 

Georgia is the only state in the nation that mandates runoff elections between the top two finishers following general elections in which no candidate achieves a majority. Like some other states, Georgia also requires runoffs for candidates who do not win a majority in a party primary. The new law shortens the time for runoffs from nine weeks to four. 

Three groups filed a lawsuit late Thursday to try to block the law. The New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter and Rise Inc., believes the law violates the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and parts of the federal Voting Rights Act that say states cannot restrict Black voter participation.

To start, calling this a voter suppression law is propaganda disinformation. To quickly and factually summarize this bill, it only suppresses illegal and fraudulent votes; it requires an ID to vote, which is not suppression; it is to ensure lawful, valid ballots. Also, it did not restrict voting hours; it increased the time for early voting. To prevent election influence, the original version prohibited giving water to voters waiting in line. The original rule was amended to allow poll workers to pass out water if appropriate, but not candidates or people working for candidates.

The entire basis of this law was to circumvent the claims of unlawfulness and fraudulence from the previous election. This law is in place to help guarantee no voter fraud and to make fraudulent voting acts harder during future elections. The law is also in place to protect people in line to vote, when within 150 feet of the poll, from harassment, intimidation, threats and otherwise unwanted interference. The claims of racism and voter suppression of this law are spurious and unreasonable and will most likely not hold up in court. That’s just my opinion; feel free to read the text and share yours in the comment section below.