On Thursday afternoon, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law SB 202, which contains multiple provisions to do with election reform.
I was proud to sign S.B. 202 to ensure elections in Georgia are secure, fair, and accessible. I appreciate the hard work of members of the General Assembly to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. pic.twitter.com/1ztPnfD6rd— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) March 25, 2021
Heritage Action, which was vocally in favor of the legislation, outlines some of the bills provisions, including:
Protecting absentee voting by requiring voter ID, not automatically sending request forms or ballots to all registered voters, printing ballots on security paper so they can be authenticated, prohibiting ballot trafficking by political operatives, and strengthening supervision of absentee ballot drop boxes.
Promoting the integrity of the election process by prohibiting private funding of election officials and government agencies.
Increasing the accuracy of voter registration lists.
Increasing transparency by allowing election observers complete access to the election process and requiring the ballot-counting to continue without pause until all votes have been tabulated.
In a fact-checking thread over Twitter, the organization addressed and set the record straight on claims, such as that it would eliminate early voting on Sundays, but as Heritage Action pointed out, SB 202 allows for more early voting. Heritage Action also shot back at critics and declared "Conservatives aren't afraid of democracy. We love it! That's why we think it should be easy to vote but hard to cheat," in a tweet.
Earlier today, @SenSchumer made several false comments about SB 202 going through the Georgia Legislature.— Heritage Action (@Heritage_Action) March 24, 2021
We're more than happy to #FactCheck the Senator and help him understand why SB 202 makes it easier to vote but harder to cheat.
See the CORRECT reforms below?? #GAPol pic.twitter.com/qFI5JQGHxq
Who thinks @PolitiFact is going to check @SenSchumer's bold-faced lie?— Heritage Action (@Heritage_Action) March 24, 2021
No? Okay, we'll do it!
Here's the TRUTH: Georgia's SB202 allows every county to have 2 Sundays of early voting. In no way does SB202 end "souls to polls" as @SenSchumer claims.#CorruptPoliticiansAct
It's easy to see - @SenSchumer is WRONG!— Heritage Action (@Heritage_Action) March 24, 2021
Conservatives aren't afraid of democracy. We love it!
That's why we think it should be easy to vote but hard to cheat.
FACT: Georgia's SB202 doubles the amount of early voting on weekends.— Heritage Action (@Heritage_Action) March 24, 2021
Currently, state law only requires ONE Saturday of early voting. But SB202 requires TWO Saturdays - and allows counties to do TWO Sundays.
This would allow 116 counties will have MORE hours of early voting.
Reporting from NPR also outlined that:
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday signed a massive overhaul of election laws, shortly after the Republican-controlled state legislature approved it. The bill enacts new limitations on mail-in voting, expands most voters' access to in-person early voting and caps a months-long battle over voting in a battleground state.
Third-party absentee ballot applications must be more clearly labeled, and state and local governments are not be allowed to send unsolicited applications.
The bill will also shorten Georgia's nine-week runoff period to four weeks by sending military and overseas voters instant-runoff ranked choice absentee ballots and only requiring in-person early voting starting the Monday eight days before election day.
Democrats opposed several pieces of the bill, including language that removes the secretary of state as chair of the State Election Board, allowing the SEB and lawmakers a process to temporarily take over elections offices and limiting the number, location and access to secure absentee drop boxes.
The bill was vocally and persistently opposed by Democrats, perhaps most notably by Stacey Abrams, who was defeated in the 2018 governor's race against Kemp.
Republicans passed & signed #SB202 to signal their capitulation to lies over truth. To fear over fairness. To suppression over participation. But we will not be defeated by their worst actions & instincts. We will spread the word, we will sue & we will win. For democracy. #gapol— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) March 25, 2021
Attorney Marc Elias has promised to file a lawsuit against the legislation.
And an immediate lawsuit. I promise. https://t.co/LcIXFBvcOT— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) March 25, 2021
The state legislation was signed into law as Democrats on Capitol Hill try to overhaul elections at the federal level, through HR 1, the "For the People Act." Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was likely referring to upcoming action with HR 1 in his tweet.
Since 2012—the GA GOP has closed more than 200 polling places.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 26, 2021
Voters in mostly Black precincts now wait 8X LONGER to vote than voters in mostly white precincts.
Now the GOP makes it a crime to give water to people standing in long lines THEY CREATED.
We will act. https://t.co/K7tyfmkHfM
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called it a "federal takeover" of elections. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said it most memorably when he warned that "Everything about this bill is rotten to the core. This is a bill as if written in hell by the Devil himself." He also raised concerns about Democrats engaging "in an effort to ensure an institutional revolutionary Democratic Party of sorts, one that can remain in power for many decades to come." Sen. Lee believes the bill to be unconstitutional, as do a group of Republican Attorney Generals, led by Indiana's Todd Rokita.
One key provision of HR 1 is that it voters could substitute their ID with a "sworn written statement." Polls show, however, that voter ID laws enjoy majority support.
That legislation, unsurprisingly, is supported heartily by Abrams, who has even demanded the U.S. Senate to do away with the filibuster in order to pass it without the need for Republican support.
Now more than ever, we need federal action to protect voting rights as we continue to fight against these blatantly unconstitutional efforts that are nothing less than Jim Crow 2.0.— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) March 25, 2021
No Republicans voted for the bill when it passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.