GOP lawmakers pushing for stricter voting requirements in Georgia

Updated: Feb. 10, 2021 at 10:19 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - GOP senators in the Georgia state legislature are pushing for new voting laws following former president Donald Trump’s defeat in the Peach State, which flipped the state blue in Nov. and in Jan.’s senate runoffs.

The Republican backed Senate bills that would tighten up Georgia’s voting requirements including:

  • Limiting absentee voting only to those who fall under certain circumstances like age or disability
  • Requiring a photo ID for those who do vote absentee by mail
  • Blocking third party groups from sending out absentee ballot applications
  • Ban drop boxes

Alton Russell with the Columbus-Muscogee County Republicans says he thinks the proposed legislation is a step in the right direction.

“I am convinced that what we need to do is tighten up the laws, voting laws, to make and reduce the ability for fraud,” Russell said.

“Personally and professionally, I feel that this is just a knee jerk retaliation tactic for those who have seen that there’s a shift occurring in Georgia where there are more persons requesting absentee ballots; especially minorities,” said Adrian Chester, lead servant at Greater Beallwood Baptist Church in Columbus.

Georgia’s current no-excuse absentee voting policy, meaning voters don’t have to give a reason to vote absentee, was introduced in 2005 by a Republican-controlled legislature.

“So, you’re telling me that this system has worked well when you were on the winning side, right, but now that the outcomes turned out differently, it’s time to change the game. And so I feel it’s, it’s unfair,” Chester said.

“We do think that every legal vote should be cast, every legal vote should be counted. Period. Now, if you’re not eligible to vote, well then we’re not suppressing the vote. I mean we’re just saying if you’re not legal and you don’t live in Georgia or you don’t live in the county, well then you don’t get to vote,” explained Russell.

If the legislation passes, Georgia would join 16 other states that require voters to provide a reason to vote outside a polling place.