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Georgia election bills seek to satisfy skeptical Republicans

Mark Niesse, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

ATLANTA — Conservative election activists got what they wanted from Georgia lawmakers this year, with a series of bills that cater to their demands for heightened scrutiny of ballots and voter registrations.

The bills would grant many wishes of skeptics who now say they’re starting to believe in elections again, nearly four years after Republican Donald Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

Whether they accept the results in this year’s election remains to be seen — and might depend on who wins.

“It’s a big step. I really think this will help restore voter confidence in Georgia,” said Garland Favorito, co-founder of the group VoterGA, which opposes the state’s voting system and made unsubstantiated claims about counterfeit ballots being used in 2020. “Of course, we still wanted more, but these were good times.”

Heading into the 2024 presidential election, Republican legislators passed bills to challenge voters’ eligibility, eliminate computer codes to count ballots and guarantee more access for partisan poll watchers.

Additional provisions would add watermarks on ballots to prevent potential counterfeits, track ballots anytime they’re touched by poll workers, permit high-resolution photocopies of absentee ballots and require all absentee ballots to be counted by 8 p.m. on election night.


The bills are now awaiting Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature or veto before a May 7 deadline.

“I would describe this year’s session as a home run for those of us concerned about election integrity,” Georgia Republican Party Chairman Josh McKoon said. “We want an overwhelming majority of our citizenry to have confidence in our election process, and this moves us a tremendous amount in that direction.”

Lawmakers’ efforts to build election confidence among Republicans has been a moving target for those who said they lost faith in results following Trump’s defeat.

Trump has encouraged distrust in elections, repeatedly claiming at rallies — without evidence — that there was widespread fraud in Georgia.


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