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Everything you need to know about Georgia’s new election laws

Brian Kemp - Governor of Georgia
ATLANTA, GA – AUGUST 10: Georgia Governor Brian Kemp speaks during a press conference announcing expanded statewide COVID testing on August 10, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Recently a high school in Georgia had to switch back to virtual learning after 9 people tested positive for the coronavirus when the school opened for regular in-person classes. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

Georgia has a new slate of voting laws after Gov. Brian Kemp signed SB 202, a 98-page omnibus bill, on Thursday. The “Election Integrity Act of 2021” was passed out of the legislature on a party-line vote and makes a number of controversial changes to how elections are run in the state. 

There will be changes to mail-in voting, as a mail-in ballot can now be applied for 11 weeks before the election, changed from 180 days. The final deadline to complete an application is moved earlier, too. Instead of returning an application by the Friday before election day, SB 202 now backs it up to two Fridays before. Republican sponsors of the bill and local elections officials say this will cut down on the number of ballots rejected for coming in late because of the tight turnaround. 

Requesting and returning a ballot will also require new ID rules: either your driver’s license number, state ID number or, if you don’t have those, a copy of acceptable voter ID. The law also allows for applications to be returned online. In fiery speeches, pointed statements and tweets, party leaders decried the law signed the day before by Republican’s state governor as specifically aimed at suppressing black and Latino votes and a threat to democracy. President Biden released a statement referring to the law as an attack on “good conscience” that denies the right to vote for “countless” Americans.

“This is Jim Crow in the 21st century,” Biden said, referring to laws from last century that enforced racial segregation in the south. “It must end. We have a moral and Constitutional obligation to act.” He told reporters the Georgia law is an “atrocity” and the Justice Department is looking into it. Biden told reporters that the Georgia law is an “atrocity” and the Justice Department is looking into it. Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, lashed back, accusing Biden of attempting to “destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box” by supporting what the governor sees as federal intrusion into state responsibilities.

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ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: WGHP

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