Former President Donald Trump heralded the passage of new election integrity legislation in Georgia aimed at tightening up absentee voting requirements among other reforms.
“Congratulations to Georgia and the Georgia State Legislature on changing their Rules and Regulations,” Trump said on Friday, the day after the Republican-control legislature passed and Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill into law.
“They learned from the travesty of the 2020 Presidential Election, which can never be allowed to happen again. Too bad these changes could not have been done sooner!” he added.
Statement from President Trump! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/LX2To2UsX2
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) March 26, 2021
Former Vice President Mike Pence offered similar praise.
“Election Integrity is a National Imperative and Georgia’s passage of S.B. 202 will ensure fairer & more secure elections in the Peach State!” he tweeted.
Election Integrity is a National Imperative and Georgia’s passage of S.B. 202 will ensure fairer & more secure elections in the Peach State! Thank you to General Assembly Republicans & @GovKemp for helping to restore public trust in elections. More states should follow soon!🇺🇸
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) March 26, 2021
The new law requires absentee voters to submit a driver’s license number or state ID number while applying for a ballot, which replaces the signature matching process, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“In addition, the legislation sets a deadline to request absentee ballots 11 days before election day and disqualifies provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct,” the paper added.
Further, S.B. 202 mandates that drop boxes must be made available in all counties, but requires that they are located in early voting locations, the office of the board of registrars or ballot clerk during the hours of operation, according to Politico.
The drop boxes must be under “constant surveillance” by an election staff or security.
“Significant reforms to our state elections were needed. There’s no doubt there were many alarming issues with how the election was handled, and those problems, understandably, led to a crisis of confidence in the ballot box here in Georgia,” Kemp said after signing the bill, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
President Joe Biden, who won the Peach State by about 12,000 votes, claimed S.B. 202 was a re-institution of “Jim Crow.”
“This law, like so many others being pursued by Republicans in statehouses across the country is a blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience,” Biden said in a statement Friday afternoon.
“This is Jim Crow in the 21st Century. It must end. We have a moral and Constitutional obligation to act.”
Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams similarly told CNN earlier this month, “I absolutely agree that it’s racist. It is a redux of Jim Crow, in a suit and tie.”
Stacey Abrams says she agrees with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that efforts by GOP lawmakers in Georgia to make it more difficult to vote is “racist.”
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) March 14, 2021
Abrams told CNN it ended Sunday early voting, but the final version of the law did not, Politico reported.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board disputed the notion that the vote integrity measures enacted in Georgia amount to a revival of Jim Crow.
“Does any of this sound like Bull Connor at the precinct door? Georgia has had record voter numbers in recent years, including outstanding black turnout, and these proposals won’t reverse that,” The Journal argued.
Literacy tests and poll taxes were two of the common ways used in the Jim Crow south to deny African-Americans the right to vote, according to History.com.
Absentee ballots were at the center of concerns about potential voter fraud in Georgia in November.
A Georgia judge stated last week that he may allow a government watchdog group to examine absentee ballots cast in November’s election in Fulton County, in the Atlanta metro area, for irregularities.
Garland Favorito, a voting-integrity advocate with VoterGA, “says county workers likely fabricated ballots and counted some ballots multiple times on election night,” and the lawsuit cited video of the counting and sworn statements from observers.
State Farm Arena in Fulton County is the location poll watchers were told by election officials counting had stopped for the night, only for surveillance video to reveal it resumed in the overnight hours.