The Republican-controlled Georgia state House passed another elections bill targeted squarely at restricting Black voters in the critical swing state.
Mirroring a recently-passed law in Florida, the Georgia measure empowers the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to act as an ‘election police’ force, allowing the state’s highest law enforcement agency to initiate probes into alleged voting related offenses without being prompted by the Georgia secretary of state. In another controversial provision, it allows any member of the public to inspect paper ballots–which are generated by electronic voting machines–if they suspect any irregularity of the potential for fraud.
The measure a, which now moves to Georgia’s Republican-controlled state senate where it’s unlikely to face much opposition. It again underscores Georgia’s importance as a battleground in the 2022 midterm Congressional elections and the 2024 presidential contest. Donald Trump narrowly lost Georgia in 2020. That, along with the two Republican incumbent U.S. Senators who lost to Democrats, essentially flipped a state that had been reliably deep red for a generation to a purple swing state.
Because of that, Georgia has been at the epicenter of a battle over voting rights. The GOP-controlled legislature passed a separate voting law in 2021 that laid out its agenda:
From The Root, Feb. 2, 2021
- In the two elections where more Georgians voted than any other election in the history of the state, 90 percent of Black Georgians voted for a Democratic candidate.
- In the same election, 70 percent of white Georgians voted Republican.Trump lost the state by .24 percentage points while the two Republican senate candidates both lost by 2.04 points or lessBlack Georgians were more likely than white voters to vote by absentee ballot and by mail-in ballot in the general election.
- Black Georgians were more likely to vote by absentee ballot and by mail-in ballot in the Senate runoff.
- Nationwide, white Republicans are more likely than white Democrats to vote early.
New voting restrictions aimed primarily at Black voters are popular these days. In addition to Georgia, Texas, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and other states are redrawing Congressional districts to eliminate districts that have elected Black representatives and limiting access to the ballot.