Democrats seek repeal of Georgia voting law, including parts they like

November 30, 2021 Atlanta: Sylvia Cook-Lopez votes at Antioch Baptist Church North located at 540 Cameron M. Alexander Blvd, NW in Atlanta on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. The runoff election that will set the course for the next four years at Atlanta City Hall will be decided Tuesday, as voters went to the polls to elect the city's 61st mayor. Tuesday caps off a historic election cycle that saw the incumbent mayor forego a re-election bid and a former mayor seek a third term at City Hall. The race ends with two City Council colleagues on the ballot for mayor: Councilman Andre Dickens and City Council President Felicia Moore, who both have big plans to bolster the ranks of the police department, improve basic city services and reopen City Hall to the public. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

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November 30, 2021 Atlanta: Sylvia Cook-Lopez votes at Antioch Baptist Church North located at 540 Cameron M. Alexander Blvd, NW in Atlanta on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. The runoff election that will set the course for the next four years at Atlanta City Hall will be decided Tuesday, as voters went to the polls to elect the city's 61st mayor. Tuesday caps off a historic election cycle that saw the incumbent mayor forego a re-election bid and a former mayor seek a third term at City Hall. The race ends with two City Council colleagues on the ballot for mayor: Councilman Andre Dickens and City Council President Felicia Moore, who both have big plans to bolster the ranks of the police department, improve basic city services and reopen City Hall to the public. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Bill would eliminate drop boxes, election takeovers and voter ID rules

Georgia Democratic lawmakers are proposing a complete repeal of the state’s voting law — even provisions that authorize ballot drop boxes and mandate a second Saturday of early voting statewide.

The legislation, co-sponsored by 30 Democrats in the Georgia House of Representatives, would also roll back parts of the law they most strongly oppose, such as new ID requirements for absentee voting and the ability for the state to replace county election boards.

The 83-page measure, House Bill 941, has no chance of advancing in the Republican-controlled General Assembly, but it sends a message about Democrats’ priorities in an election year that is certain to focus on voting rights.

ExploreHow Georgia’s voting law works

Republican supporters of Georgia’s voting law that passed last year, Senate Bill 202, criticized the Democrats’ legislation.

“Georgia Democrats never miss an opportunity to erode the security of Georgia’s elections. Georgia Republicans are committed to making it easy to vote and harder to cheat in the Peach State,” Republican National Committee spokesman Garrison Douglas said.

Democratic state Rep. Donna McLeod of Lawrenceville, the lead sponsor of the bill, said Democrats support drop boxes and plan to introduce a separate bill that would remove restrictions on them.

Under SB 202, drop boxes are only available in early voting locations and during voting hours, and counties can only install one drop box for every 100,000 active registered voters. Drop boxes were initially authorized by emergency rules of the State Election Board in 2020 that expired after last year’s runoffs for the U.S. Senate.

McLeod said the parts of SB 202 that limit voting access should be reversed and new laws passed that make it easier to vote.

“This bill tells voters that we care about voter access, not anti-voting laws that suppress voting,” McLeod said. “We want voting to be free and unfettered to all of our constituents, regardless of what party they belong to.”

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