Georgia House Republicans passed a bill to restrict absentee voting and cut back on weekend early voting hours. House Bill 531 passed with a 97-72 vote.
“Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly are trying to change the rules of the election here in Georgia, rules that you wrote, because you were handed defeat,” Rep. Kimberly Alexander said. “You know that your only chance of winning future elections is to prevent Georgians from having their votes counted and their voices heard.”
Republicans believe that the bill will put trust back into the voting process.
“Our goal in this bill is to make sure that Georgia’s election results get back quickly and accurately,” Rep. Barry Fleming said. “The way we begin to restore confidence in our voting system is by passing this bill. There are many commonsense measures improving elections in this bill.”
As legislators voted, protestors made their voices heard outside of the Capitol.
“This bill is going against all the accessibility that makes voting possible by removing absentee and early voting hours,” Regine Shabazz, a protestor in Atlanta said.
“We have proven again and again that our election was fair and not compromised, so why are they trying to reduce voting rights? I don’t get it,” Melissa McCollum, a protestor from Gainesville said.
Minority Leader James Beverly said the bill “silences the voice of Georgians.”
“In the opening salvo: Line 8 restricts access, Line 15 limits my ability to vote, Line 21 limits my ability to vote, Line 25 limits my ability to vote, Line 30 restricts access and it goes on and on for 66 pages,” Beverly declared. “I stand in opposition to this bill because Democrats weren’t involved in any meaningful conversation before 531 was haphazardly thrown together in committee and passed.”
The bill is headed to the Georgia Senate.