Republicans in Georgia sped a sweeping elections bill into law Thursday, making it the first presidential battleground to impose new voting restrictions following President Biden’s victory in the state.
What happened yesterday: The bill passed both chambers of the legislature in the span of a few hours before Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed it Thursday evening. By changing its election laws, “Georgia will take another step toward ensuring our elections are secure, accessible, and fair,” he said.
Kemp, who is up for reelection next year, had refused to give in to former President Trump’s demands last year that he overturn Biden’s victory — earning Trump’s public condemnation. But on Thursday, Kemp said “alarming issues” with the 2020 election demonstrated the need for change.
He predicted critics of the new law “will threaten, boycott, sue, demonize and team up with their friends in the national media to call me everything in the book.”
What the law does: The new law imposes new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, empowers state officials to take over local elections boards, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water.
“It’s like the Christmas tree of goodies for voter suppression,” Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan said on the Senate floor as lawmakers prepared to vote on the nearly 100-page bill Thursday.
Republicans cast the measure, dubbed The Election Integrity Act of 2021, as necessary to boost confidence in elections after the 2020 election saw Trump make repeated, unsubstantiated claims of fraud.
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