Georgia State Senate passes several voting bills

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)— The Georgia State Senate passed SB 67 last week. It requires voters to enter a driver’s license number or a personal identification number when requesting an absentee ballot.

If the voter doesn’t have one of those, they must provide either:

  • a photocopy of a Military ID
  • a passport
  • or some other form of identification

The bill also allows for the Secretary of State to keep the absentee ballot request portal open after the public health state of emergency ends.

State Senator Larry Walker sponsors the bill. He calls it a common-sense approach.

“We see a lot more people wanting to vote by mail, it just is a good opportunity and a good time to look at the process and see what makes sense,” says Sen. Walker.

State Senator David Lucas opposes the bill. He says Republicans are trying to make it harder for people to vote by mail.

“It is an extra layer of trying to prevent folks to vote to make them frustrated where they don’t want to vote that’s all that bill is about,” says Sen. Lucas.

Senator Walker says it’s not his intent to make voting by mail harder.

“I don’t see where it suppresses votes in fact it codifies the ease of being able request your ballot,” Sen. Walker said.

The bill is heading to the Georgia House of Representatives. Senator Lucas says if the bill goes into law, Democrats will take it to court.

“I will be part of the lawsuit suing them on behalf of the people that I represent,” says Sen. Lucas.

However, both senators agreed on SB 40 allowing absentee ballots to be opened and scanned eight days before Election Day.

“Requiring them to start counting the ballots or scanning the ballots ahead of time is a good thing just for timeliness of the result,” says Sen. Walker.

“It will help with getting results quicker because the law is now you can’t start tallying until after the polls close of that night,” says Sen. Lucas.

What’s next

Also, the Georgia House passed a bill Monday that puts restrictions on absentee voting. The bill heads to the Senate next.