The Georgia Senate advanced an election reform bill that would remove no-excuse absentee voting and limit mail-in ballots to certain criteria.
The bill, which included multiple other provisions, passed 29-20 and moves to the Georgia House’s Elections Integrity Committee. While the legislation is expected to pass, it has a deadline of March 31.
SB 241 includes limiting those eligible to vote by mail to individuals who are physically disabled, over 65 years old, eligible as a military or overseas voter, have a religious holiday around election day, work in elections or somehow need to be outside their voting precinct during the early voting period and election day.
The law eliminates no-excuse absentee voting, something Georgia has legalized since 2005.
A voter ID would be required to request an absentee ballot under the law. Georgia would also have to participate in a nongovernmental multi-state voter registration system to cross-check the eligibility of voters.
Georgia Senate Republicans released a statement prior to the vote:
“For almost an hour, Georgia Senate Democrats have talked about everything but SB 241. We want every person to vote. We want elections to be secure. We are open to solutions, but Georgia will not be vulnerable to voter fraud.”
The bill has received some opposition from Republicans.
A House bill triggering election reform passed but would still permit no-excuse absentee voting.
Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock said on Twitter that efforts to restrict weekend voting specifically target communities of color and should be rejected.