Columbus: The election bill passed by the lawmakers of the state of Georgia in the US allegedly suppresses the voting access of citizens across the state and provides state officials more power over the local elections. Governor of Georgia Brian Kemp signed the bill on Thursday, which says, among other things, that ID copies should be submitted with absentee ballots.
The act also limits the number of 'drop boxes' in which people can place their absentee votes, which means many will have to travel to cast their vote. It allows the state legislature to assume charge over the local election officials while also restricting supplying water and food to people waiting in queue to vote. The act reduces the early-voting time span for all runoff elections.
The law eliminates the state secretary by making it an electable position by State general assembly. It also gives the state election board the authority to suspend county election officials to be replaced by an individual selected by the board.
Georgia is one among more than 40 states where Republicans are trying to tighten voting rules, mainly targeting those who do not physically vote at polling stations. They claim that they are rationalising the voting and counting procedures to 'guarantee election integrity'.
The Democrats lashed out at the bill as an attempt to target social and ethnic groups who are expected to vote for them, reducing the sweep in votes from those groups in the previous election.
US President Joe Biden called the law 'Jim Crow in the 21st Century' and 'a blatant attack on the Constitution'. Jim Crow laws from the 19th and 20th Century had imposed racial segregation in voting in the Southern part of the country. He also added, "This law, like so many others being pursued by Republicans in statehouses across the country, is a blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience".