The Government of Georgia has passed the Election Integrity Act, 2021 on March 31, 2021 and will come into force on July 1, 2021. The Act has been passed in the wake of USA 2020 elections. It makes significant changes to the way the state will run elections moving forward. It expands early voting access for some Georgia voters, adds an ID requirement for absentee voting, codifies the use of drop boxes with strict rules on how they can be used and sets new rules for state and local election officials. Salient features of the Act are:
- Special ballots will be created for non-partisan elections.
- Ballots must be printed in black and white ink on security paper.
- A cutoff date of 11 days before a primary, general election or runoff election for mail-in ballot applications.
- A deadline for the issuance of absentee ballots at least 25 days before a federal primary, general election or special election or 22 days before a municipal general election or primary.
- A Georgia state driver’s license number, ID card number, date of birth and the last four digits of a social security number or another approved form of identification must be printed on the outside of an absentee ballot.
- Conditions for rejecting absentee ballots if certain requirements are not met.
- ID is now required not just for in-person voting, but also for mail-in voting.
- Food and drink distribution to voters in line by non-poll workers is banned, but “self-service” water stands are allowed.
- Changes to in-person voting are being implemented to address long lines and reduce provisional voting.
- State election board will have new powers and won’t be chaired by the secretary of state.
- Results are to be reported faster.
*Tanvi Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this story together.