Dear constituents,

I’m writing to express my very real concern about the implications of passing SB 202. If you have not been following, SB 202 began as a simple two page bill, requesting that absentee ballot applications be mailed to registered voters only. This bill passed the Senate, and then moved to the House Special Committee on Election Integrity, where the contents of this bill were replaced with a 95-page voter suppression bill. This new bill was made available to the committee approximately one hour before they met, and was not made available to the public until after it had passed out of committee.

Our elections have been proven to be safe and secure, time and time again. The only problem that this bill is trying to fix is that Georgia elected Democrats (myself among them). We also elected many Republicans! I stand firm in my belief that voting should be as easy as possible for all Georgians, and this bill does nothing to accomplish that.

There are many components to this bill, and I will go into further detail below. But these are my main concerns:

  • Subverts local control of election boards, giving state lawmakers unprecedented control over state and local elections
  • Eliminates two weeks of early voting and bans weekend voting and Souls to the Polls for runoff elections (Black voters make up 39% of weekend runoff voting)
  • Limits absentee ballot drop boxes, and makes them less available (and let’s face it – absentee ballot drop boxes were the best things to come out of 2020!)
  • Disqualifies provisional ballots that were cast in the wrong county
  • Was rushed through committee without due diligence, and was not made available to the public before being voted on

What can you do? This bill has passed committee, and passed the Rules committee, and is on the Rules calendar for tomorrow, March 25th, Day 38 of our 40-day session. You can contact:

SB 202 is an attack on Georgians’ freedom to vote that would: 

  • Ban nonprofits from providing water or food to voters in long lines 
  • Allow one person to submit an unlimited number of voter challenges 
  • Create an anonymous fraud hotline that will lead to more voter prosecutions and voter intimidation
  • Allow children as young as 13 to be charged with a felony for witnessing a voter cast their ballot 
  • Remove the Secretary of State as a voting member of the State Election Board (SEB)
  • Grant state legislature the power to directly appoint three out of five State Election Board members
  • Grant state legislators and the SEB power to suspend, fire and replace any county election board
  • Grant SEB power to appoint a single individual to replace an entire county election board
  • Grant state legislature the power to overrule public health emergency election rules
  • Require counties to pay for any suspended members salary as well as the salary for the replacements and bars the county from paying for counsel for the SEB hearing 
  • Ban supplemental/grant election funding for counties 
  • Limits voter’s right to cast a provisional ballot and have that ballot counted 
  • Significantly limits the use and availability of secure ballot drop boxes 
  • New absentee ballot return deadline of 11 days prior to election day and cuts vote by mail application period from 180 to 78 days before early voting
  • Runoff early vote period reduced to five days total 
  • Requires voters provide a photocopy of ID or a Georgia driver’s license/GA ID on vote-by-mail apps
  • Requires voters provide photocopy of ID with vote by mail ballot if they lack GA DL#, GA ID #, and SS#
  • Adds date of birth requirement back to absentee ballot envelope 
  • Bans mobile voting

SB 202 is an unprecedented power grab over elections authority in Georgia, by:

  • Removing the Secretary of State as a voting member of the State Election Board (SEB). 
  • Granting state legislature the power to directly appoint three out of five State Election Board members
  • Granting state legislators and the SEB power to suspend, fire and replace any county election board
  • Granting SEB power to appoint a single individual to replace an entire county election board
  • Granting state legislature the power to overrule public health emergency election rules
  • Requiring counties to pay for any suspended members salary as well as the salary for the replacements and baring the county from paying for counsel for the SEB hearing
  • Banning supplemental/grant election funding for counties

Representative Betsy Holland
GA House District 54