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Georgia lawmakers approve new election rules that could impact 2024 presidential contest

staticwire | April 3, 2024
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Georgia lawmakers have approved a new set of rules aimed at challenging voters and qualifying for the state’s presidential ballot, potentially reshaping the landscape for the 2024 presidential race. Senate Bill 189, which passed the House with a 101-73 vote and the Senate with a 33-22 vote, is now awaiting Governor Brian Kemp’s signature or veto.

The bill, championed by Republicans in Georgia, comes in the aftermath of baseless claims by former President Donald Trump and other Republicans that he lost Georgia’s electoral votes in 2020 due to fraud. One key provision of the bill would grant access to Georgia’s presidential ballot to any political party that has qualified in at least 20 states or territories, potentially opening the door for independent candidates like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to compete.

However, the bill also includes provisions outlining what constitutes “probable cause” for challenges to voter eligibility, a move that has drawn sharp criticism from Democrats. The criteria for probable cause includes instances such as being registered in a different jurisdiction, voting in multiple locations, or being identified as deceased. Democrats argue that this provision could lead to baseless attacks on voters and disenfranchise large numbers of people.

Opponents of the bill, like Democratic Rep. Saira Draper, have called the provision a result of “lies and fearmongering,” highlighting concerns about the erosion of confidence in the election system. Democrat Ruwa Romman pointed out that bills like these only serve to legitimize falsehoods and conspiracy theories, rather than upholding the integrity of the electoral process.

On the other hand, Republican supporters of the bill, including Rep. Victor Anderson, have defended the voter challenge section by pointing to safeguards such as requiring more substantial evidence for challenges and delaying challenges within 45 days of an election. Proponents of the bill argued that it aims to increase confidence in elections and ensure that every legal vote counts.

In addition to the voter challenge provisions, the bill also includes measures requiring timely reporting of absentee ballot results, allowing the use of paper ballots in small elections, and phasing out the use of QR codes for ballot counting in favor of human-readable marks by 2026.

This bill is part of a broader legislative effort in Georgia to address election integrity concerns, with other bills focusing on audits, ballot security, poll worker eligibility, and voting machine regulations. Critics warn that these measures could further polarize the state’s political landscape and deepen distrust in the electoral process.

As Georgia awaits Governor Kemp’s decision on the bill, the future of elections in the state hangs in the balance, with implications for the 2024 presidential race and beyond. Stay tuned for further developments on this story.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Written by staticwire

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