DeKalb County

State Republican leadership wants to do away with drop boxes, limit absentee voting

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — More than 1 million Georgians have already requested an absentee ballot for the Senate runoffs on Jan. 5.

Republican leaders in the state Senate want to cut back on absentee voting in the future. A new proposal would limit both who can vote absentee and how they can do it.

DeKalb County alone has more than 30 secure ballot drop boxes spread out around the county that are monitored by surveillance video.

Now state Senate Republican leadership wants to outlaw them and also limit the number of people who can vote absentee.

DeKalb County voter Stevie Clay told Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray that as a senior citizen, voting by absentee and putting his ballot in a drop box early seemed like the safest and simplest way to vote in the January Senate runoff.

“This is my second time doing this, and I think it’s much better than going to the polls,” Clay said.


But Georgia’s Senate Republican Caucus announced when it next meets in session, it wants to do away with secure drop boxes and restrict who can vote absentee.

The caucus announced in a statement:

“As soon as we may constitutionally convene, we will reform our election laws to secure our electoral process by eliminating at-will absentee voting. We will require photo identification for absentee voting for cause, and we will crack down on ballot harvesting by outlawing drop boxes.”

Right now, Georgia has no-excuse absentee voting, meaning anyone can request a mail-in ballot.

Gray contacted each member of the Republican Senate leadership team, but none would do an interview with him about their proposal to do away with that.

Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffenspeger and Gov. Brian Kemp have both said they support changing the law requiring a photo ID to request an absentee ballot.

But the state Senate wants to go much further. Democratic Sen. Jen Jordan said she will fight the move.

“You’re clearly just wanting to suppress somebody’s vote. And really, the people of this state, they should be outraged,” Jordan said.

More than 1.1 million people have already requested an absentee ballot for the runoff.

Senators still haven’t laid out specifics for the plan, but their proposal could cut back on the number of people able to do that in future elections.

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