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Georgia bill would require photo ID copies for mail voting

January 27, 2021 GMT
A worker at the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections works to process absentee ballots at the State Farm Arena Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
A worker at the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections works to process absentee ballots at the State Farm Arena Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA (AP) — A Republican member of Georgia’s state Senate introduced a bill Wednesday that would require people to make copies of their photo ID and mail it to election officials twice to vote absentee by mail.

The bill comes after a large increase in mail voting, spurred on by the coronavirus pandemic, helped propel Democrats to victory in November’s presidential election and in two Jan. 5 U.S. Senate runoffs.

State election officials have said unequivocally that there was no widespread fraud or irregularities in mail voting, despite relentless false claims by former President Donald Trump and his allies.

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But that hasn’t stopped Republican lawmakers from trying to add requirements.

Senate Bill 29, introduced by Sen. Jason Anavitarte of Dallas, would require voters to include a copy of a photo ID when requesting an absentee ballot and when returning it, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Top Republican officials in the state, including Georgia’s governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state, have endorsed the idea of requiring a photo ID for mail voting, though it’s unclear if they support the specific approach taken in Senate Bill 29.

Other, simpler ways of requiring photo ID have been floated — including requiring a driver’s license number on the absentee ballot request form — though no legislation has been introduced yet.

Fair Fight, a voting rights group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, slammed the proposal.

“By requiring access to a printer, which many Georgians obviously do not have, Republicans are attempting to purposely take away the ability of many Georgians to vote by mail simply because they believe too many Democrats and too many people of color voted by mail,” the group tweeted.

Fair Fight also noted that the proposal in its current form could raise concerns about identity theft.