Georgia Takes Reign in New Voting Restrictions

Are We Rolling Backwards into the Past?

Gracelyn Perrine, Opinions Editor

Recently in the state of Georgia, new voting laws and regulations have taken place in efforts to revise the voting processes and activities that come forward with the experience of voting. While these provisions have been applied, some support these changes, yet some are calling it unconstitutional and a threat to voter rights, especially for Black voters and minorities as a whole. Some of these provisions include cutoff dates for mail-in ballot applications, deadlines for the issuance of absentee ballots, special ballots for nonpartisan elections, and the new rule that ballots must be printed in black and white ink on security paper. While these are just some on the list, the list has caused widespread confusion and protest. Many are simply confused as to what these new provisions and restrictions do to help the process in an equal and efficient way. Governor Brian Kemp signed the bill in the the thoughts of “restoring voters’ confidence in the election process” and “making elections more secure”; however, many civil rights activists say that these restrictions have not been seen since the Jim Crow era and are now outraged.

This change in voting rights and election processes took a leap shortly after the 2020 election, when Donald Trump lost the state of Georgia and claimed it was voter fraud. He also stated that mail-in voting would ensure “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” Mr. Trump made claims supporting that mail-in ballots tended to be fraudulent and unreliable, simply due to the fact that a majority of mail-in ballots come from members of the democratic party, as proven in past research. When it was made clear that the surge of mail-in ballots being counted were more in favor of President Biden, widespread frustration and confusion took over the republican party. While studies back up the claim of mail-in ballots predominantly being used by left leaning individuals, right wingers disagreed and had a lot to say. This ultimately led to the accusations of fraud, and the “realignment” of the voting process in hopes to gain more “election security”. These accusations from Mr. Trump are vital to this situation, as many of these new laws are restrictive predominantly of mail-in voting. 

While both sides of this debate spark conversation regarding the pros and cons of these new laws and their intentions, there is still a divide. Many are afraid that these laws will make it become more difficult for minorities to vote, and many have now gained confidence in the validity of state elections. The true impact of this law will come into play in the upcoming November elections, as this will be the first time voters experience these new regulations since the law was passed in March of this year. 

Here you can read the full law, consisting of 95 pages of new restrictions and regulations.

While it is a lot to take in, taking the time to account for the pros and cons of this law allows the reader to better understand why there is this debate and frustration.