ATLANTA — All Voting is Local Action Georgia State Director Aklima Khondoker issued the following statement in response to Georgia House Bill 531, a sweeping bill that guts voting access, specifically removing Sunday early voting, a critical time Black religious communities cast their ballots during “souls to the polls.”
“Georgia Republican lawmakers are brazenly trying to silence voters through House Bill 531, which includes deliberate restrictions on early voting, absentee voting, and ballot drop boxes. This is a desperate attempt to solidify their own power by silencing others. Despite a global pandemic and repressive legislative attempts to block access to the ballot, record numbers of Georgians voted in 2020 using every method available, and now that accessibility is under attack.
“This bill targets all Georgians and particularly punishes low-income voters, people in rural communities, the elderly, and religious communities of color. It’s critical that lawmakers reject this alarming legislation that aggressively limits voting in communities that have long suffered diminished access to the ballot.”
Georgia’s 2020 election cycle was marred by long lines, machine failures, lack of staff, and false allegations of voting irregularities. Rather than fix long-standing barriers to the ballot, the Special Committee on Election Integrity is pushing bills that restrict Georgians’ constitutional right to vote.
Specifically, HB 531 does the following:
- Restricts the placement of secure ballot drop boxes and reduces their availability to voters.
- Eliminates Sunday voting, known as “souls to the polls.”
- Cuts early voting hours to only 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- Limits the time that voters can request and return absentee ballots.
- Bans government agencies from sending ballot applications to voters.
- Forces voters to submit a copy of a photo ID or a driver’s license or state ID number to vote absentee.