The fallout over the presidential election results in Georgia continues as the state prepares for 2 U.S. Senate runoffs. This week, Republicans in the Georgia Legislature announced a series of proposals to overhaul Georgia’s elections, all of which were met with criticism from Democrats.
Republicans in the State Senate announced this week that they would fight to end no-excuse absentee voting, which allows voters to request a mail-in ballot without providing an excuse, such as being elderly or not being in the state during the election. They also announced that they would seek to get rid of drop boxes in order to crack down on “ballot harvesting.” The measures come as President Donald Trump continues to contest the election results in Georgia and other key states, alleging widespread voter fraud without presenting any valid evidence. Republicans also announced that they would seek to implement photo identification requirements for those who request absentee ballots.
That’s not the only change that Republicans are seeking to make: House Speaker David Ralston announced this week that he would seek to change the way the Secretary of State is chosen. Instead of being popularly elected, Ralston said that he would like for Georgia’s top election official to be chosen by the Legislature. A change like this needs to be made by amending the state constitution. Two-thirds of both chambers in the legislature must vote to approve the amendment, and it will then be placed on the ballot for voters to approve or reject in the next general election. Ralston’s proposal is unlikely to pass, as Republicans do not have supermajorities in either chamber of the Georgia Legislature.
Democrats have already spoken out against these new proposals. Fair Fight, the voting rights organization founded by former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, made it clear that Georgia voters, not politicians, should choose the Secretary of State. Lauren Groh-Wargo, the CEO of the organization, called the proposed absentee restrictions “weak and desperate.”
President-elect Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in Georgia by about 12,000 votes after a third recount, which was requested by the Trump campaign. Since then, the President and his lawyers have tried to prove instances of widespread voter fraud without presenting any evidence. Trump has relentlessly lashed out at Georgia’s Republican leaders on Twitter, in interviews and at campaign rallies, from saying that he was “ashamed” that he endorsed Gov. Brian Kemp to calling Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger a “so-called Republican.”
A group of Republicans in the Georgia Senate also signed onto a long-shot lawsuit seeking to overturn the results in Georgia and other swing states that voted for Biden, despite the fact that Attorney General Chris Carr, a Republican himself, has called the lawsuit “constitutionally, legally and factually wrong.”
Georgia is once again preparing to be the center of the political universe, as the state prepares for two U.S. Senate runoffs that will decide which party will control the U.S. Senate. Early voting is set to begin on Monday, December 14 and election day is on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.