ATLANTA — President Jimmy Carter is speaking out against the voting bills that are currently moving through the General Assembly.
Earlier in the month, the Georgia House passed a sweeping bill that restricts ballot drop boxes, requires ID for absentee voting and limits weekend early voting days.
On Monday, the Georgia Senate passed their own version of the bill that would also eliminate no-excuse absentee voting in Georgia.
Since their introduction into the General Assembly, Democrats have said the bills are nothing more than voter suppression tactics. Republicans say the measures are to strengthen voter integrity.
The former president said he is “disheartened, saddened, and angry” over the bills.
“Many of the proposed changes are reactions to allegations of fraud for which no evidence was produced—allegations that were, in fact, refuted through various audits, recounts, and other measures. The proposed changes appear to be rooted in partisan interests, not in the interests of all Georgia voters,” Carter said.
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In an exclusive interview with Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot, Gov. Brian Kemp said he supports having more secure elections, including requiring photo IDs.
“My position has been very clear on voting for a long time, even before the 2020 cycle: easy to vote, hard to cheat, have secure, accessible, fair elections,” Kemp said.
Kemp also said he does not support ending no excuse absentee voting.
Carter said legislators are also misrepresenting a report that he co-chaired in 2005 to push their agenda.
“I also am disappointed that advocates for these restrictive changes have repeatedly and selectively referenced a report prepared by a 2005 commission that I co-chaired with former Secretary of State James Baker. While our report noted a few good and bad examples of vote-by-mail practices, its main recommendation was that further study of voting by mail was needed,” Carter said. “In the 16 years since the report’s release, vote-by-mail practices have progressed significantly as new technologies have been developed. In light of these advances, I believe that voting by mail can be conducted in a manner that ensures election integrity.”
Carter ended his statement by saying that the state should be passing legislation to make it easier for more Georgians to vote, not restrict them.
“American democracy means every eligible person has the right to vote in an election that is fair, open, and secure. It should be flexible enough to meet the electorate’s changing needs. As Georgians, we must protect these values. We must not lose the progress we have made. We must not promote confidence among one segment of the electorate by restricting the participation of others. Our goal always should be to increase, not decrease, voter participation.”
Cox Media Group