New Georgia voting law and what it really does

Jessie Schwitters

Governor Kemp recently signed new voter laws, the laws bring changes to how people can vote. As a result, there’s been backlash claiming the new laws will suppress the minority vote. After Joe Biden’s election which gave two democrat seats in the U.S Senate, the backlash has intensified. People are saying the vote will be too restricting and will likely make it harder for poorer people or voters of color to cast their votes. Governor Kemp claims the law will bring more access to voters in rural areas.

What the new law brings

It will shrink the amount of time to request mail ballots. Rather than allowing voters to request six months from election day, voters can start requesting ballots 78 days out. Counties in Georgia can begin sending ballots to voters just 29 days before the election, previously voters were allowed 49 days. 

Counties and the state can send mail ballot applications to only voters who have requested them. Unlike previously when it was simply sending every registered voter a ballot application.

Voter ID requirements. Voters who decide to vote with mail ballots will need to provide one of several forms of ID. The voters’ signature has been very controversial because people are saying it’s likely to affect black voters.

Some other forms of identification are the driver’s license number or social security number.

There will be shortened early voting in runoff elections instead of the three weeks of early voting in runoffs; early voting will now be held in a single weekday (Monday-Friday) period.

Some ways it will help expand voting

One of Kemp’s major things about this law is how it is supposed to help expand voting, below are some ways the bill will help.

A minimum number of drop boxes is guaranteed. While the number of drop boxes is limited, Kemp has been publicly arguing this would improve the voting.

There will be an additional day for early voting in most rural counties. The new law requires at least two Saturdays for early voting, this will allow counties to choose when their early voting locations are open. Locations can only be open for a minimum of eight hours a day between seven am and seven pm.

Have more questions on runoff changes or how voting will change? 

Click here for videos and for a more in-depth look at the new bill.