Georgia Lawmaker Proposes Doing Away With Ballot Drop Boxes
ATLANTA — Georgia’s widely panned new voting restrictions would reduce the number of election drop boxes in key Atlanta counties from 111 to 23. Now, a prominent Republican lawmaker is pushing to get rid of them altogether.
Drop boxes have been used in early voting in elections the last two years to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. During the 2020 election, drop boxes were used more frequently in Democratic-leaning parts of the state, like metro Atlanta.
A controversial Georgia Senate bill, Senate Bill 202, which was signed into law in March, reduced the number of ballot drop boxes in key Atlanta counties from 111 to 23.
Now, Georgia Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller, a candidate for lieutenant governor this year, wants to ban their use entirely.
“This is the next step in our fight to restore Georgians’ faith in our election systems,” Miller said as he introduced Senate Bill 235 on Monday.
“Drop boxes were introduced as an emergency measure during the pandemic, but many counties did not follow the security guidelines in place, such as the requirement for camera surveillance on every drop box. Moving forward, we can return to a pre-pandemic normal of voting in person,” he said.
In a campaign post on his Twitter account, Miller goes on to say, “Drop boxes are vulnerable to voter fraud and used for ballot harvesting – which is why Stacey Abrams loves them!
“We must restore faith, trust and integrity into our elections and that’s why I’m fighting to ELIMINATE drop boxes,” he said.
In an email to The Well News, Seth Bringman, spokesman for the Abrams campaign, said “Drop boxes provided secure access to return ballots safely and conveniently, and for some folks on the other side, that was a problem. Drop box numbers, days and hours have already been limited severely for no good reason other than making it harder for people of color to vote.”
In June, the Justice Department sued the state of Georgia, the Georgia secretary of state and the Georgia State Election Board over Senate Bill 202, alleging that several of its provisions – including those related to absentee ballots – violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
“The right of all eligible citizens to vote is the central pillar of our democracy, the right from which all other rights ultimately flow,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said when the complaint was filed.
“This lawsuit is the first step of many we are taking to ensure that all eligible voters can cast a vote; that all lawful votes are counted; and that every voter has access to accurate information,” he said.
But just last week, former Sen. David Perdue, a Republican candidate for Georgia governor, filed a lawsuit reviving many of former President Donald Trump’s debunked claims about fraud in the 2020 election.
Perdue is specifically asking to inspect absentee ballots in Fulton County, which encompasses metro Atlanta, the Democratic stronghold in the state of Georgia.
Perdue has said he wouldn’t have certified the election results and wanted a special legislative session to explore conspiracy theories about the outcome.
State election officials have maintained since last November that there is no indication that widespread voting fraud occurred in the 2020 election.
After three ballot counts and several investigations, the numbers show Joe Biden defeated Trump by about 12,000 votes in Georgia.
Dan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.
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