mcloudy.png
Sunday May 16th, 2021 2:43PM

EXPLAINER: What does Georgia's new GOP election law do?

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — The sweeping rewrite of Georgia's election rules represents the first big set of changes since former President Donald Trump's repeated, baseless claims of fraud following his presidential loss to Joe Biden.

Georgia has been at the center of that storm. Trump zeroed in on his loss in the state, even as two Democrats won election to the U.S. Senate in January, flipping control of the chamber to their party. The 98-page measure that was signed into law Thursday by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp makes numerous changes to how elections will be administered, including a new photo ID requirement for voting absentee by mail.

Republican supporters say the law is needed to restore confidence in Georgia’s elections. Democrats say it will restrict voting access, especially for voters of color. Here's a look at some of the top issues:

CAN THE STATE TAKE OVER LOCAL ELECTION OFFICES?

Much of the work administering elections in Georgia is handled by the state’s 159 counties. The law gives the State Election Board new powers to intervene in county election offices and to remove and replace local election officials. That has led to concerns that the Republican-controlled state board could exert more influence over the administration of elections, including the certification of county results.

One target for intervention could be Fulton County, a Democratic stronghold that contains most of Atlanta. The heavily populated county has been plagued by problems, including long lines, and it is often singled out by Republican officials. Under the law, the board could intervene in up to four counties at a time and install a temporary superintendent with the ability to hire and fire personnel including elections directors and poll officers.

ARE PEOPLE BANNED FROM HANDING OUT SNACKS OR WATER TO VOTERS IN LINE?

The new law makes it a misdemeanor to hand out “any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink” to anyone standing in line to vote. The prohibition extends 150 feet from a polling place and 25 feet from any person standing in line.

Advocates of the law say they are attempting to crack down on political organizations or advocacy groups trying to influence voters just before they cast a ballot. Critics say it’s cruel and would penalize even nonpartisan groups or individuals for something as simple as giving water to someone waiting in a long line. Democratic state Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler slammed the proposal Thursday before the bill was signed into law, saying: “They want to make it a crime to bring Grandma some water while she’s waiting in line.”

Polling places would be able to, but not required to, set up self-serve water dispensers for voters.

DOES THE BILL ELIMINATE SUNDAY VOTING?

Republicans had proposed at one time to limit early voting on weekends, a time when many Black churches conduct “souls to the polls” efforts to take congregants to vote. But Republicans reversed themselves, and the measure now expands weekend early voting. Previously, one day of weekend voting was required, with counties given the option of offering more. Now two Saturdays will be required, and counties can offer two Sunday voting days as well. Republicans point to this provision to argue they are actually expanding, rather than restricting, voting access.

“Contrary to the hyper-partisan rhetoric you may have heard inside and outside this gold dome, the facts are that this new law will expand voting access in the Peach State," Kemp said Thursday.

HOW WILL RUNOFFS CHANGE?

Georgia is the only state in the nation that mandates runoff elections between the top two finishers following general elections in which no candidate achieves a majority. Like some other states, Georgia also mandates runoffs for candidates who do not win a majority in a party primary.

The system came under scrutiny from Republicans after Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won twin runoffs in January.

The new law shortens the time for runoffs from nine weeks to four, with lawmakers saying the current span is “exhausting” and needs to be shortened to a “more manageable period."

Military and overseas voters will use ranked-choice absentee ballots to rank all possible candidates before a primary or general election, allowing their preferences to be determined in any possible runoff. Georgia only had three weeks before runoffs until 2013, when a federal judge ordered a longer gap to give military and overseas voters more time to return ballots.

The shorter period means less time for early and mail voting. Early voting had lasted three weeks before runoffs. Now early voting would begin “as soon as possible” but no later than the second Monday before the election, possibly leaving as little as five weekdays and no weekend days of early voting. Voters would also have less time to apply for a mail ballot.

No new voters could be registered in the period before a runoff because the registration deadline would be the day before the earlier election.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Three groups filed a lawsuit late Thursday to try to block the law. The New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter and Rise Inc. say the law violates the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as well as parts of the federal Voting Rights Act that say states cannot restrict Black voter participation.

“These unjustified measures will individually and cumulatively operate to impose unconstitutional burdens on the right to vote, to deny or abridge the voting rights of Black Georgians, and to deny Black voters in Georgia an equal opportunity to participate in the electoral process and elect candidates of their choice,” says the lawsuit, which is filed against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Georgia's State Elections Board.

Opponents are also looking to Congress, which is considering nationwide voting standards. A Democratic-backed measure passed the House earlier this month, but faces opposition from Senate Republicans wary of a federal takeover of state elections.

The federal proposal would create automatic voter registration nationwide, allow former felons to vote, and limit the ways states can remove registered voters from their rolls. It would expand voting by mail, promote early voting and give states money to track absentee ballots.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, General Senate Election News, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News, AP Elections - Political Conventions
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trains crash in southern Egypt, killing at least 32
Authorities say two trains crashed in southern Egypt, killing at least 32 people and injuring 165 in the latest of a series of deadly crashes on the country’s troubled railways
5:02PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Arkansas governor signs medical conscience objections law
Arkansas’ governor has signed into law a measure that would allow doctors to refuse to treat someone because of moral or religious objections
4:57PM ( 29 minutes ago )
VP to focus on border diplomacy; no immediate plans to visit
Vice President Kamala Harris won't be on the ground at the U.S. border anytime soon as she leads efforts to address a rise in migrants trying to enter the country
4:56PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Thousands cross Mexico's southern border despite new efforts
On the day this week that Mexico imposed new measures at its southern border to shut down non-essential crossings, 1,200 migrants crossed from Guatemala at a single remote jungle outpost without showing a document to anyone
4:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
Maritime traffic jam grows outside blocked Suez Canal
A maritime traffic jam grew to more than 200 vessels outside the Suez Canal, and others began changing course as dredgers and tugboats tried to free a giant container ship that is stuck sideways in the waterway and disrupted global shipping
4:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden assails Georgia voting law as an 'atrocity'
President Joe Biden is calling a sweeping Republican-sponsored overhaul of Georgia’s elections laws “outrageous" and an “atrocity.”
4:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry dies at 84
Pulitzer Prize-winning Texas author Larry McMurtry has died at the age of 84
1:31PM ( 3 hours ago )
Kenosha police: 55 more charged for violence during protests
Kenosha police say 55 people are facing charges related to violent demonstrations after the police shooting of Jacob Blake last summer
12:20PM ( 5 hours ago )
Store owner: Boulder suspect passed check before buying gun
A gun store owner says the suspect in the Colorado supermarket shootings bought a gun before the shooting after passing a background check
12:00PM ( 5 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
The Latest: Czech Republic votes, extends state of emergency
The Czech Republic’s lower house of Parliament has voted to extend the state of emergency in one of the hardest hit European Union countries till April 11
4:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden calls Georgia voting law 'Jim Crow in 21st century'
President Joe Biden is criticizing Georgia’s new voting law again
3:43PM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden assails Georgia voting law as 'outrageous'
President Joe Biden is calling a sweeping Republican-sponsored overhaul of Georgia’s elections laws “outrageous."
3:42PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
China sanctions Britons after UK joins EU move on Xinjiang
China has announced sanctions on British individuals and entities following the U.K.'s joining the EU and others in sanctioning Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region
5:49AM ( 11 hours ago )
China sanctions Britons after EU move on Xinjiang
China has announced sanctions on British individuals and entities following the U.K.'s joining the EU and others in sanctioning Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region
2:07AM ( 15 hours ago )
Voting rights, hate crimes on Senate's 'big, bold' agenda
Democrats are vowing action on several of their top priorities in April
12:36AM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Trump defends Capitol rioters, says there was 'zero threat'
Former President Donald Trump is defending some of his supporters who rioted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, saying they posed “zero threat” to the lawmakers who had assembled there to certify the Electoral College vote that confirmed Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race
11:49PM ( 17 hours ago )
Bungled hearing delays GOP voting restriction bill in Texas
A procedural gaffe has forced the abrupt end of a Texas House hearing on a Republican-backed voting restrictions bill and at least temporarily deprived more than 100 people of the chance to testify about it
5:48PM ( 23 hours ago )
Wyoming election changes pushed by Donald Trump Jr. fail
Wyoming lawmakers have rejected a measure requiring candidates to win a majority of votes in primaries to avoid runoff elections
12:54PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Elections
Capitol riot clouds Democrats' look at contested Iowa race
An Iowa Democrat wants Congress to overturn her state-certified defeat for a House seat
3:05PM ( 2 days ago )
GOP firebrand US Rep. Mo Brooks enters Alabama Senate race
A conservative firebrand and staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump who came under fire for remarks preceding the attack on the U.S. Capitol has joined the Alabama GOP primary field to replace Sen. Richard Shelby
12:00AM ( 3 days ago )
‘Sorry’: GOP US Rep. Tom Reed retiring amid misconduct claim
U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican from western New York who was accused last week of rubbing a female lobbyist’s back and unhooking her bra without her consent in 2017, apologized to the woman on Sunday and announced that he will not run for reelection next year
8:30PM ( 4 days ago )
General Election News
Another campaign? C-SPAN to air Iowa speech by Pompeo
From the point of view of C-SPAN, the 2024 presidential campaign is beginning this week
4:52PM ( 2 days ago )
Polish writer facing prison for calling president 'moron'
A Polish writer is facing a potential sentence of up to three years in prison for calling the nation’s president a “moron” on social media
2:07PM ( 3 days ago )
Trump ally to take on embattled Georgia secretary of state
A conservative Georgia congressman and acolyte of former President Donald Trump has announced his bid to unseat the Republican secretary of state who angered Trump and his allies for refusing to help overturn the November election results
10:10AM ( 4 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
GOP Missouri Attorney General Schmitt running for US Senate
Missouri’s Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt is running for U.S. Senate
10:02AM ( 2 days ago )
Is Blunt's exit an opening for ex-Gov. Greitens to return?
Eric Greitens’ political future seemed doomed by scandal when he resigned as Missouri governor, but now he appears primed to test whether Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement provides a path for redemption
4:56PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Wave of retirements signals battles ahead for Republicans
The Republican Party didn't want to begin the new year this way — with a spate of retirements in the evenly divided Senate ahead of the 2022 midterm elections
11:17AM ( 2 weeks ago )
General Senate Election News
Column: Trans athletes a non-issue but discrimination real
All around the country, states are rushing to approve laws addressing a supposed problem that, in reality, doesn’t actually exist
4:28PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Sacrifices paying off for foreign players in women's tourney
Michigan’s Hailey Brown says she came very close to opting out of this women’s basketball season
3:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
Tornado outbreak strikes Alabama, Georgia; at least 5 dead
Blaring tornado sirens and howling winds roared across parts of western Georgia early Friday as severe storms pounded southern states
6:20AM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
Former GOP Rep. Doug Ose enters California recall election
Former Republican congressman Doug Ose says he's entering the California recall election aimed at ousting Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom
8:05PM ( 1 week ago )
Alaska GOP censures Murkowski, looks for ’22 challenger
The Alaska Republican Party has censured U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski for voting to convict former President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial and now doesn't want her to identity as a Republican when she runs for office
4:47PM ( 1 week ago )
US: Despite threats, foreign hackers didn't disrupt election
U.S. officials say they found no evidence that foreign actors changed votes or otherwise disrupted the voting process in last November’s presidential election
4:02PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Trains crash in southern Egypt, killing at least 32
Authorities say two trains crashed in southern Egypt, killing at least 32 people and injuring 165 in the latest of a series of deadly crashes on the country’s troubled railways
5:02PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Arkansas governor signs medical conscience objections law
Arkansas’ governor has signed into law a measure that would allow doctors to refuse to treat someone because of moral or religious objections
4:57PM ( 29 minutes ago )
VP to focus on border diplomacy; no immediate plans to visit
Vice President Kamala Harris won't be on the ground at the U.S. border anytime soon as she leads efforts to address a rise in migrants trying to enter the country
4:56PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Business as usual: Thousands cross Mexico's southern border
On the day this week that Mexico imposed new measures at its southern border to shut down non-essential crossings, 1,200 migrants crossed from Guatemala at a single remote jungle outpost without showing a document to anyone
4:54PM ( 32 minutes ago )
The Latest: UN-backed program disappointed in vaccine delays
A leader of the U.N.-backed program to ship COVID-19 vaccines to needy people in low- and middle-income countries has expressed disappointment about supply delays from a key Indian manufacturer, but says he hopes the United States can begin sharing shots soon
4:52PM ( 34 minutes ago )