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Dec. 6, 2020, 8:22 a.m. EST

Despite no evidence of systematic fraud, Georgia Republicans push for photo ID requirement for mail-in voters

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By Associated Press

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One way to do that could be to require a person’s driver’s license number or a photocopy of a separate form of ID, she said.

“We need to secure all avenues that we can of absentee ballots so we never have a candidate run around this state again saying the election was stolen because of absentee ballots,” she said.

While Republicans seem ready to press forward with the photo ID requirement during the upcoming legislative session, Democrats and civil rights organizations are raising alarms.

With no evidence of widespread fraud or other problems in the election, it doesn’t make sense to talk about measures that could ultimately prove to be barriers to voting, said Andrea Young, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.

“What is the problem that you’re trying to solve?” she asked. “The rule should be first, ‘Do no harm’ when it comes to democracy, and whenever there are more restrictions being put on a process, you run the risk of disenfranchising Georgia citizens.”

Young says adding a photo ID requirement for absentee voting would be harmful because “we know that these barriers have a different impact on African American voters, on younger voters and, in this instance, on seniors who have certainly earned the right” to vote.

State Sen. Jen Jordan, an Atlanta Democrat, echoed Young’s concerns, saying Republicans were offering solutions in search of a problem.

“What this says to me is that they just don’t want people voting,” Jordan said. “And they specifically don’t want Democrats voting, or people that don’t support their chosen candidates voting, and they’re going to try to make it as hard as possible.”

Democrats and voting-rights groups have for years sought to decrease rejections of absentee ballots in Georgia, arguing that minorities have been disproportionately affected. Absentee ballots are sometimes rejected because signatures on the outer envelope are deemed not to match signatures in the voter registration system, or because the envelope is not signed at all.

See: Voting-rights advocate Stacey Abrams, who may hold key to Democrats’ chances in Senate runoffs, campaigns at virtual get-out-the-vote rally

Also see: Trump airs election grievances in 100-minute address at largely maskless rally in Georgia

An agreement signed in March to settle a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party spells out a standard process that must be used statewide to judge the signatures. That agreement has been the subject of much of Trump’s online ire, and he has incorrectly said it “makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes.”

MarketWatch contributed.

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