Top Republican in Georgia legislature introduces bill to ban absentee drop boxes

ATLANTA — The top Republican in the Georgia legislature introduced a bill Monday that would ban the use of absentee ballot drop boxes all together in Georgia.

Sen. Butch Miller is a Republican who represents Georgia’s 49th district, which includes Gainesville. He’s been serving since 2010. He’s currently running for lieutenant governor of the state.

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“This is the next step in our fight to restore Georgians’ faith in our election systems,” Miller said. “Drop boxes were introduced as an emergency measure during the pandemic, but many counties did not follow the security guidelines in place, such as the requirement for camera surveillance on every drop box,” Miller said in a statement. “Moving forward, we can return to a pre-pandemic normal of voting in person. Removing drop boxes will help rebuild the trust that has been lost.”

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Miller said that under the proposed legislation, which was prefiled as Senate Bill 325, the Georgians who still need to vote absentee will still be able to do so and it will “remain as easy and accessible as it was before 2020.”

Miller was the second sponsor of the 2021 bill that mandated Georgia county elections offices purchase and install at least one absentee drop box.

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After President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, former president Donald Trump claimed there was voter fraud in Georgia, specifically related to absentee ballots. Trump spent months attempting to convince Gov. Brian Kemp and Secy. of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn his defeat in the state, asking for ballot audits, and even at one point asking Raffensperger to “find” him more than 11,000 votes to beat Biden.

Both Raffensperger and Kemp have maintained that there was no election fraud in Georgia and that Biden won the state.

After the election, Miller requested a performance review of the top election official in Fulton County. No fraud or wrongdoing was found.

Trump said in July that he would not support Miller’s campaign for lieutenant governor because of his “refusal to work with other Republican senators on voter fraud and irregularities in the state.”

Trump has endorsed Burt Jones, who is running against Miller in the Republican primary.

The Democratic Party of Georgia released a statement Monday, saying that Miller’s bill to ban absentee ballot drop boxes is “based on debunked claims of voter fraud.”

“Miller’s proposal comes after he failed to win Donald Trump’s endorsement in the GOP primary for Lieutenant Governor, and after racist comments he made attacking new Georgians ‘that don’t think like us,’” the statement read.

Miller has said that new Georgians need to “assimilate into our values and culture.”

“Butch Miller’s proposal to blow up our elections based on lies is part of his sad, desperate attempt to win over far-right voters after Donald Trump endorsed his primary opponent. We already know Butch Miller is terrified of Georgia’s diversifying electorate – now, he’s trying to silence the voters of color who elected Democrats last cycle by banning one of the most popular ways they chose to cast their ballots,” said Scott Hogan, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Georgia. ”The Georgia GOP is hellbent on restricting voting to install their far-right, anti-democratic leaders. No one who wants to suppress Georgia voters deserves to make our laws or help lead our state, and Georgia Democrats will not stop fighting to protect our elections from Republicans who clearly don’t believe in democracy.”

The full text of Miller’s proposed bill is available online here: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61051