By: Cheryl Hancock-Watts
The state of Georgia passed a bill called the Integrity Act of 2021, also known as SB 202. This 95-page legislation which is under scrutiny is causing confusion and controversy. Corporations and Sporting events are moving away from Georgia in protest over the new laws, but do we understand what these new voting laws are?
- President Joe Biden spoke on the new voting laws of Georgia as he announced that the bill would close down polling places at 5:00 pm, before working people had time to vote. But we discovered that the new hours are the same as in 2020, from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.
- Another complaint over the new law is that people could not give water to voters waiting in long lines. As President Biden put it, “It would be sick” to not take care of people voting. But we found that the new law allows poll workers to hand out water if there are no water stations available. It does not however, permit political groups or others to bring gifts of food or water to voters waiting in line hoping to influence their votes.
- The new law downsizes the amount of ballot drop boxes. There were no drop boxes before COVID, but for convenience of voters a few boxes will be left in each county of Georgia. Also, the boxes will be kept indoors and protected, making them more secure in the future.
- The new law makes mass mailings of ballots illegal. In order to vote by mail or by ‘Absentee ballot’ the voter must request an application at least 29 days before the election. After applying, their ballot will be sent by mail, as it was before COVID.
- The new 2021 Georgia voting law allows early voting on 2 Sundays and 2 Saturdays prior to election.
- The new law will require all voters to provide one form of identification (ID) such as a driver’s license or social security number. We have heard complaints that having to show ID will affect black Americans who are less likely than white Americans to have a driver’s license or a Social Security number. But is that true? All Americans get Social Security numbers when applied for, also in order to drive in America you must have a license with a photo ID.
Critics of the new 2021 Georgia voting law are against having to show ID to vote. Americans have not complained about showing ID for other things, such as getting a vaccine for COVID, or to cash a check, to open a bank account, or to buy liquor. Why would we complain about showing ID to vote? The question should be, “Why would we NOT want to show ID to vote? The privilege to vote for those who govern over us is so much more important than the privilege of buying a bottle of beer.
The New Georgia Voting Bill is called the “Integrity Act” so that we can trust our elections to be conducted securely and fairly. No one should be upset about having honest elections.