Georgia State Passes Voter Id Mandate

( The state Senate in Georgia passed an important bill this week that seeks to prevent voter fraud in relation to mail-in ballots.

On Tuesday, the measure passed through the state Senate by a vote of 35-18. It will now be sent to Georgia’s House of Representatives where that chamber will consider it.

If passed into law, the bill would require voters in Georgia who wish to vote via absentee ballot to submit a valid photo identification. The acceptable ID forms under the bill would include a state ID card, driver’s license or other approved federal forms of ID.

Democrats in Georgia have been against the bill, which they are labeling a form of “voter suppression.” They are arguing that the bill would make it difficult for people who don’t earn a lot of money to obtain a license.

On the flip side, the proponents of the bill say that isn’t possible, as Georgia law already bars the state from realizing any profit off voter IDs.

As Republican state Senator Larry Walker III said:

“Again, this is just a common-sense measure to adjust our current process for requesting an absentee ballot — not casting the ballot — to reflect the web portal that works so well. And to get the Board of Elections people out of the middle of verifying elections when they received over a million absentee ballots.

“So, it’s an efficiency measure and a security measure. This is not about disenfranchising anybody.”

The bill’s sponsors are saying the proposed law is just a way to keep the rules for mail-in ballots the same as they are for in-person voting. In Georgia, people who vote in person are required to show a license that’s issued by the government in order to vote at the polls.

If this is required for in-person voting, then, why should it be outrageous to require the same level of security and identification verification for a person requesting a mail-in ballot? Just like Walker said, it’s not as if people will be required to submit a copy of their photo ID with the actual mail-in ballot. They’ll just need to verify their identity when they go to request an absentee ballot.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 General Election saw an uptick of 20% in the number of absentee ballots that were used to vote in Georgia. And, as many people know, absentee balloting in Georgia and in many other states across the country became a hot-button topic for claims of fraud and security issues.

State legislators in Georgia who are behind bills like these are saying that all they want to do is beef up their voting laws and restore voter confidence in the system that they run in their state.

In addition to this bill, the Senate also weighed three other bills related to elections. Those other bills would narrow the window that absentee balloting could take place and also require voters to give a reason why they’re requesting to vote via absentee ballot versus in-person.