Georgia Lawmakers This Week Propose Additional Ways to Reform State Elections

Woman voting at booth


Officials at the Georgia General Assembly this week proposed what they said were new methods to reform Georgia’s elections.

House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) proposed that the Georgia Department of Driver Services offer state ID cards, free, to all eligible Georgians.

This, according to a press release Ralston emailed Wednesday.

“Currently, DDS assesses a $32 fee for State ID cards. Similar in form to driver’s licenses, State ID cards are compliant with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s REAL ID standard and may be used for voter identification among other purposes,” according to Ralston’s press release.

“Georgia already offers a free voter photo identification, but that document may only be used for voting.”

Meanwhile, Georgia State Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson) this week filed legislation that would, if enacted into law, authorize local governments to conduct elections by paper ballot this year.

“In any primary or election conducted during 2021, the primary or election may be conducted by a county, municipality, or consolidated government, at the option of its election superintendent, by paper ballot,” according to the language of the bill.

Jones did not return The Georgia Star News’ requests for comment Wednesday.

Other sponsors include State Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming), State Sen. Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton), State Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), and State Sen. Marty Harbin (R-Tyrone).

As The Star News reported last week, state lawmakers are addressing voter integrity in a variety of ways this legislative session.

A 1998 Georgia law, for instance, authorized the state to have mobile voting facilities, but voters in the Peach State’s most recent presidential election who voted at such places acted against that law’s original intent.

State Sen. Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton) said this as he spoke last week to members of the State Senate’s Ethics Committee. Dugan said this as he discussed a new bill he’s sponsoring to reform the state’s election systems.

“The mobile facilities were intended to serve as a backup for existing polling locations should there be an issue with those existing facilities or those facilities were inadequate in size to meet the population demands. The wording in the 98 law is vague,” Dugan said.

Dugan said he inserted new language to clarify any confusion.

Dugan’s bill, in its current form, says a county superintendent must provide portable or movable polling facilities to replace any existing polling place — but only if needed.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “People Voting” by Wyofile Wyofile. CC BY 2.0.









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