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Lawmakers could introduce more changes before 2022 elections

campaign coverage Metro ATL

Lawmakers could introduce more changes before 2022 elections

FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: A long line of voters gathered outside the Voter Registration and Elections Office on Oct. 12, the first day of early voting in the Nov. 3 elections. Photo by Dean Hesse

By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor 

DeKalb County, GA — Bills under consideration at the Gold Dome this session would change voting procedures across the state. The bills could reverse, or reinforce, current laws on how and where Georgians vote.

SB202, which passed in 2021, met great opposition in DeKalb County because it limited access to early voting and absentee ballots and increased ID requirements. Voting rights advocates called the law Jim Crow 2.0.

This legislative session, laws on absentee ballots, drop boxes, poll watching, election administration and safety are all on the table. Some bills are proposing to allow invasive procedures, like House Bill 1464 which would allow the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to subpoena election records and investigate allegations of election law violations. The bill is being sponsored by five Republicans.

At the DeKalb Elections board meeting on March 10, county attorney Irene Vander Els rattled off a long list of potential new election laws.

“We’re going to be watching those to see what happens. To the extent any of those do become law, that we’ll be able to advise how that may impact the work of the department,” Vander Els said.

Municipal elections are known for low turnout, which means more people at the polls this election season – and a greater chance of confusion. More voters will also turn out at the polls in person, said Liz Throop, a DeKalb County resident and election integrity advocate.

“As voters become less concerned about COVID and face new challenges to voting by mail, the May primaries should prove an important stress test for voting in person,” said Throop, who asked the BRE for increased signage on election days.

In May, Georgia voters will cast a ballot for primary races including Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Representatives and State Senate, U.S. House Representative and U.S. Senate, Insurance Commissioner, Commissioner of Labor, Commissioner of Agriculture, State School Superintendent, Public Service Commission, Supreme Court Judge of Georgia and judges from appeals, superior and state courts.

On the May 24 ballot in DeKalb County:

– DeKalb Board of Education Districts 2, 4, and 6

– DeKalb County Commissioners Districts 2, 3 and 7

– DeKalb State Court Judges

– Stonecrest mayoral election

– Special Elections in city of Atlanta and city of Lithonia

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