Atlanta mayor issues executive order against Georgia’s new voting law

Credit: Alyssa Pointer /

Credit: Alyssa Pointer /

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is taking action against the voting law that Gov. Brian Kemp signed on March 24.

On Tuesday afternoon, Bottoms issued an Administrative Order directing the City’s Chief Equity Officer to implement a series of actions to diminish what her office called “new voting restrictions” imposed by Senate Bill 202. Her office stated these actions will ensure every Atlanta resident can exercise their right to vote.

“The voting restrictions of SB 202 will disproportionately impact Atlanta residents—particularly in communities of color and other minority groups,” Bottoms said in a statement. “This Administrative Order is designed to do what those in the majority of the state legislature did not—expand access to our right to vote.”

It’s unclear how the mayor’s actions will impact the city’s voting turnout going forward.

The order will enact efforts to develop a plan within the city’s authority to expand opportunity and access to the ballot box, according to the mayor’s office.

The plan involves training staff members on voter registration and general information on early, absentee, and in-person voting. The city staff will provide that information to residents to ensure people know how to obtain the identification required for absentee voting.

The city is also developing plans to provide information on voter registration and absentee voting using water bills, QR Codes, and weblinks to city websites, according to the statement.

The order also seeks coordination with business and community leaders to create Public Service Announcements to explain the newest voting related deadlines and timelines.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the mayor’s executive actions.

Voting drop boxes can only be located inside early voting locations and available during voting hours under Georgia’s new law. Georgians will be required to provide a driver’s license number, state ID number or other documentation when requesting an absentee ballot. Voters will have to request absentee ballots at least 11 days before election day.

Additionally, local governments will be prohibited from mailing unsolicited absentee ballot application forms. Volunteers can no longer provide food and water to voters inside of the voting building, within 150 feet of the building, and within 25 feet of anyone waiting in line to vote. The law gives the Republican-controlled Legislature more power over local elections officials, and it expands weekend voting in some rural counties.

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Providing the facts and context that help readers understand the current debate over voting laws is a priority for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Our journalists work hard to be fair and will follow this complex story as it continues to develop.

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