COLUMN: Georgia’s new voting law

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, April 20, 2021

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You may have heard that not everyone was happy when our General Assembly in Georgia overhauled the existing election protocol with the passage of SB 202.

The push for election reform came after Joe Biden was declared the winner over President Donald Trump by a narrow 11,779 votes in Georgia in last year’s general election.

Biden called the law “un-American” and described it as a “blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscious.”

Every American should be concerned with a response like that from a sitting president.    Interestingly, Trump was unhappy with the bill as well. He deemed it “too weak.”

Well, neither of these men is likely to be in a position to affect this law that strictly adheres to the Constitution.  Below provides the main questions and/or concerns about Senate Bill 202:

1.  When does Georgia’s election law go into effect?

Brian Kemp signed the bill on March 31

The following provisions will go into effect on July 1:

1.  Special ballots will be created for nonpartisan elections;

2.Ballots must be printed in black and white ink on security paper;

3. A cutoff date of 11 days before a primary, general election or runoff election for mail-     in ballot applications;        

4.  A deadline for the issuance of absentee ballots at least 25 days before a federal primary, general election or special election or 22 days before a municipal general election or primary; and

5.  Georgia state driver’s license number, ID card number, date of birth and the last four digits of a social security number or another approved form of identification must be printed on the outside of an absentee ballot.

2.  What about early voting?

According to the AJC, two early-voting periods are required on a Saturday for each county, with optional voting on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (hours may be extended to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.).

In prior elections, early voting began on the fourth Monday before a primary or election and ended the Friday before an election day. For runoff elections, voting began as soon as possible before Election Day.

3.  New role for Georgia’s secretary of state

Prior to the passing of the new law, the secretary of state served as chair of the State Election Board. The role was demoted to a nonvoting member of the board. A new chairperson will be elected by the General Assembly. 

What now? 

A divide deeper than the Grand Canyon separates our people on almost every political issue throughout the country. Peaceful disagreement is the base of a Constitutional Republic; like the United States.  Please continue to pray with me for our country.