Georgia's "Election Integrity Act of 2021" changes voter ID requirements, absentee ballots, early voting, the State Election Board, and more.
BRIAN KEMP: With Senate Bill 202, Georgia will take another step toward ensuring our elections are secure, accessible, and fair.
STEPHANIE LIEBERGEN: Criticism has swirled around Georgia since Republicans passed the Election Integrity Act of 2021 on March 25. So what does the new law include? At nearly 100 pages long, it strengthens voter ID laws, changes early voting rules, and gives the state legislature more control over elections.
The earliest a Georgia voter can request an absentee ballot under the new law is now 78 days before the election, down from the old system offering 180 days. And voters will need to include their driver's license number and a photocopy of their license or state-approved ID when they request a mail-in ballot. All counties are required to put out at least one ballot dropbox, though the law adds a limit on the total number of dropboxes that can be used. The boxes also must be under constant surveillance by an election official, law enforcement, or a security guard.
Early in-person voting will start the fourth Monday before an election, with locations open from at least 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on weekdays. Counties also must offer it on the second and third Saturday before an election. Sunday early in-person voting hours are a county option.
The law bans people from handing out food or water to voters as they wait in line, a past practice some viewed as a violation of electioneering laws. It also gives the state legislature control over who leads the State Election Board, a position previously held by the secretary of state automatically. For ballot counting, elections officials will be allowed to start processing absentee ballots two weeks before Election Day. And the certified results are due by 5:00 PM the Monday after the election. Stephanie Liebergen, Newsy, Washington.