SB 241, a voting bill that would end no-excuse absentee voting after 16 years, was passed by Republicans in the Georgia Senate.
Four Republican Senators opted to be excused from the vote. Georgia’s Lt. Gov Geoff Duncan chose not to preside over the vote because he is opposed to removing no-excuse absentee and other extreme measures proposed by fellow Republicans.
“This is not preventing anyone from voting by mail-in absentee,” Majority Leader Mike Dugan said. “All this is doing is laying the groundwork for relieving the stresses as we continue to see moving forward.”
It took three-and-a-half hours to debate the bill, which barely passed. Democrats say the bill is modern-day voter suppression.
“That’s sloppy, y’all,” Senator Jen Jordan said. “Especially when you’re talking about a bill that’s going to impact people’s lives, that’s going to impact the fundamental right to vote… actually, it’s pretty shameful.”
“Why not try to reach out all the voters in Georgia, like people that look like me,” Senator Sheikh Rahman said. “Georgia is changing, Georgia’s already changed… If you reach out to folks like me, that looks like me, talks like me, you might be able to hold onto power.”
The House passed a bill that adds additional ID requirements for absentee ballots. It would also standardize early voting hours and adds additional days and hours, but limit more diverse Democratic-leaning counties. The bill also takes away power from the secretary of state’s office.
More election-related bills were slated to be discussed in the Senate during Crossover Day, including a proposal that would end Georgia’s automatic voter registration provision.