The Georgia State Legislature is in full swing, and GOP legislators are working hard to make voting a real pain in the ass for everyone. Because Republicans lost fair and square in statewide elections recently, these sore losers think that if fewer people vote they’ll win again. So they’re proposing a whole slew of changes to create more roadblocks to voting. Their proposed changes will make voting less convenient for all voters but will especially inconvenience seniors, Black people and anybody who works during the week.
Multiple audits and studies have confirmed that our voting systems are secure and that voter fraud is not a real problem. Our legislature should be working to make it easier for all voters to participate in democracy — not making it harder, as the Republicans are doing.
This assault on voting is undemocratic, and we’ve got to stop it. We need to make our voices heard NOW (and probably repeatedly), until the Georgia General Assembly’s session ends April 2, which is only about five weeks away. By contacting our legislators, we can help steer our state in the right direction.
Please contact your state senator and state house representative, and ask them to OPPOSE all bills that make it more difficult to vote. These bills could get a floor vote this week, so let’s make our voices heard!
First of all, please contact your state senator to ask them to vote NO on:
SB 67, which would require the submission of IDs to be able to vote absentee. This bill has already passed through committee and will get a full vote from the Senate, possibly this week. Some reasons we don’t need this:
1. The people most likely to use absentee ballots are less likely to have traditional ID (a driver’s license), either because of disability or age.
2. Elderly voters are traditionally Republican, so this erodes both parties’ support.
3. There is no evidence of fraud with mail-in ballots. Recent audits prove that the current system works well.
4. When voters vote in-person, the poll workers can compare the photo ID to the person present. There’s no way to do that with mail-in ballots, which is part of why requiring it makes no sense.
There are other reasons, too, but these are a good start when you’re trying to figure out what to say.
SB 71 would strictly limit the people allowed to use absentee ballots. Thirty-four states allow any qualified voter to vote absentee; Georgia can continue to do that, too. This bill has not passed out of committee, but just in case it does, tell your senator to vote NO on SB 71.
In the Athens area, your state senator is Sen. Bill Cowsert: (404) 463-1366 or (706) 543-7700, firstname.lastname@example.org or
Sen. Frank Ginn (404) 656-4700 or (706) 680-4466, email@example.com
If you’re not sure who your state reps are, look here: https://openstates.org/find_
In the state house, we need to tell our reps to vote NO on HB 270 and HB 531.
HB 270 would make it so elections offices have to mail out absentee ballots at least 11 days before an election, which means people would have to order them even earlier.
HB 531 is a giant voter-suppression mess. It would: restrict absentee voting, limit the use of mobile voting units and ban counties from holding early voting on Sundays, often called “souls to the polls,” which is popular with Black voters. Other provisions in the measure: a requirement for photo ID for absentee voting (see above for why this is a bad idea), a more limited timeframe for voters to request absentee ballots and restrictions on where ballot drop boxes could be placed.
ACC and Oconee people, especially if your house rep is Houston Gaines (Dist. 117), please be sure to contact him, because he is on the Special Committee on Election Integrity, which decides what bills move to the House floor for a vote.
ACC-area House Reps are: Houston Gaines (117) (404) 656-0298 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spencer Frye (118) (404) 656-0265 or email@example.com
Marcus Wiedower (119) (404) 656-0325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EFFECTIVENESS TIP: If you are a constituent of a state senator or state representative, make sure to mention that in your call or email and include your name and address.