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Georgia House Republicans unveiled the most sweeping and controversial election reform measure Thursday, igniting a firestorm of criticism among voting and civil rights groups.
HB 531 is set to be heard today by the Georgia House Special Committee on Election Integrity at 9:30 a.m. — less than 24 hours after it was introduced. Critics say measures in the bill would put an undue burden on various groups of voters, especially people of color, and a coalition of 28 groups called for the lawmakers to give people more time to read and analyze the 48-page omnibus bill.
The legislation, in effect, would drastically change how elections are conducted in Georgia.
Among the changes:
- Only allowing mobile voting buses in emergency circumstances
- Cutting the time voters can apply for an absentee ballot
- Stopping elections officials from sending absentee ballot applications directly to voters
- Reducing drop box hours
- Striking out-of-precinct voting and restricting early-voting times, including ending some weekend voting.
The special election integrity committee was formed in January to address claims of election fraud in the state. The committee is supposed to ensure proper security and oversight of elections.
(Header Image: A roll of voting stickers. Image via Unsplash)