The Election Integrity Act of 2021, originally known as Georgia Senate Bill 202 (SB202) is a law introduced in the Georgia Legislature which would change certain voting procedures currently in the state.
Changes to Absentee Voting
The earliest a voter can request a mail-in ballot will now be 11 weeks prior to election date as opposed to the initial 180 days.
The deadline to complete the absentee ballot application will now be two Fridays before election day as opposed to one Friday before.
Counties will now mail out absentee ballots four weeks before the election, approximately three weeks later than before.
In order to request or return a ballot, there are new ID rules. All voters submitting a absentee ballot must provide one of the following: driver’s license number, state ID number, or a voter ID
Absentee ballots will now have to be printed on special security paper with a precinct name and ID listed.
Georgia’s runoff elections will now be only 4 weeks long as opposed to the initial 9 weeks and military and overseas voters will receive a ranked-choice instant-runoff ballot.
There now will also be secure absentee ballot drop boxes in every county and one for every 100,000 active voters. These drop boxes will be located inside early voting sites and will be open during early voting days and hours.
Changes to Early Voting
The new SB 202 law expands voting in many counties. Counties can have early voting open from 7 am to 7 pm.
For Fulton Voters: Fulton voters can no longer use mobile voting buses to cast votes.
During voting hours at polling locations, nobody other than poll workers are allowed to pass out food or water to voters within 150 feet of the building or within 25 feet of the polling line.
Counties must report how many people vote in person and how many absentee ballots were requested, received, accepted, and rejected daily.
During a runoff, early voting will start as soon as possible and in-person early voting will be required from Monday through Friday the week prior to the election.
Changes to Vote Counting
Local officials can now begin to process absentee ballots up to 2 weeks before the election.
Local officials are required to report the total number of early, absentee, and provisional ballots by 10 pm on election night.
Counties must finish tabulating votes by 5 pm of the day after the election.
Changes to Local Election Offices
Counties have to provide information regarding testing of voting machines and equipment used in the election.
Election offices can no longer receive direct funding from philanthropic groups.
If polls have more than 2,000 people voting or a wait time of more than 60 minutes, the poll must hire more staff and add more workers.
Changes to State Election Boards
The Georgia Secretary of State is no longer the chair of the State Election Board, and the chair will instead be chosen by the majority of the State House and Senate. If there is no chair and the legislature is out of session, the governor will appoint a replacement chair.
The State Election Board now have the power to step in on county election boards that under perform.
VoterTech held a hybrid workshop in collaboration with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on October 6, 2021 explaining the new SB 202 law that went into effect recently in Georgia. If you missed it or would like to re-watch it, you click on the link below!