March 1, 2023
ATLANTA — In response to the Georgia Senate Ethics Committee’s passing of Senate Bill 221 Tuesday, a bill that would expand baseless challenges into voters’ eligibility and completely ban ballot dropboxes, among other measures, All Voting is Local Action Georgia State Director Kristin Nabers issued the following statement:
“By making it easier for voters to have their eligibility disqualified, this bill seeks to disenfranchise thousands of people in Georgia. In addition, Georgia’s lawmakers took the extreme measure of amending the bill at the last minute to ban dropboxes entirely. This bill is being championed by election deniers and conspiracy theorists, who are doing everything they can to make it as hard as possible for students and Black and brown Georgians to vote.
“In wielding lies about our elections to punish voters, Georgia’s legislature is purposely ignoring the security and accuracy of our voting process, which has been verified multiple times since 2020. Lawmakers should be looking for ways to register more voters and make voting more accessible. Instead they’re turning their backs on Georgians in favor of catering to a handful of conspiracy theorists who refuse to accept verifiably fair and accurate election results.”
Senate Bill 221 would lower the threshold for challenges to voters’ eligibility by allowing change-of-address data, which is often inaccurate, to be used in these challenges against people who temporarily relocate. It would also put more stress on already overworked elections offices to respond to these needless challenges. In 2022, an estimated 92,000 voters had their voter registration challenged. Despite the Secretary of State’s office testifying Tuesday that the bill’s provisions violated the National Voter Registration Act, the Senate Ethics Committee passed it anyway.
Additionally, the last-minute amendment to ban drop boxes entirely comes after a 2021 law that only allowed them to be placed inside voting sites and was added without any public comment allowed.
The measure still has to pass the full Senate by Monday, March 6, then the House before becoming law.