The National Vote At Home Institute has released a statement following the passing of Senate Bill 202 in the Georgia State Legislature that was signed into law by Gov. Kemp last week:
“Senate Bill 202 is a massive missed opportunity to move Georgia forward and build on the record participation of the 2020 election. The bill repeals and criminalizes many of the policies and practices that made the 2020 election in Georgia so transparent, accurate and secure. These were legal, constitutional practices such as line warming, mobile center voting, out-of-precinct voting and other pro-voter policies that ensured Georgians had multiple safe, accessible and fair methods of casting their ballots. The availability of secure ballot dropboxes which Georgians used widely in 2020 will be severely reduced, and the accessibility of those dropboxes will be more highly restricted. In a last minute addition, the bill now allows any voter to contest an unlimited number of their fellow voters’ ballots without cause and is sure to cost Georgia taxpayers untold funds in judicial and administrative fees.
While the bill contains many unnecessary restrictions that have no benefits for security or access, the efforts of legislators on both sides of the political aisle, activists, volunteers, faith leaders and other allies protected some of the most crucial aspects of the state’s election system and ensured that SB202 did not further hinder the rights of Georgians. These include preserving no-excuse absentee ballots, early and weekend voting periods, automatic voter registration, ballot drop boxes (though availability is more limited), and three weeks of early ballot processing. We commend legislators in Georgia for listening to their constituents and retaining these operating procedures.
SB202 preserved some aspects of accessible voting in Georgia, however it does more harm than good. We must act to not only preserve, but expand safe, accessible and fair voting methods that ensure every single American can make their voice heard at the ballot box in the way that they choose. Legislators must continue to consult election administrators in their states in order to craft policy that is in the best interest of voters — and that works well in practice. To that end, National Vote at Home Institute continues to work hard in Georgia and across the country to make voting more accessible, equitable, and secure.”