Regardless of one’s political affiliation, it’s not difficult to find voters in Georgia who were discouraged by the messiness of the 2020 election process.
In evaluating federal, state, and local voting safeguards, these and other serious complications — glitches, missing votes, even water pipe breakages at polling locations or ballot drop boxes — raised legitimate concerns and weakened voter confidence in Georgia’s election integrity.
Such concerns ultimately weaken voter confidence and decrease participation in elections regardless of political persuasion and prompted Georgia lawmakers to modernize voting laws to make it easier to vote and harder to interfere with Georgia’s elections.
As expected, a few partisan individuals and groups rushed to label Georgia’s new election reform law, the Georgia Election Integrity Act of 2021, (SB202) as an act of voter suppression. However, their claims are simply not true: reforms introduced in this legislation expand voting access for all Georgia voters while enhancing the security of the process.
Let’s begin by debunking one of the often repeated and misunderstood points of contention regarding Georgia’s election reform law: the restrictions that third-party groups now face when offering voters food and drink. Instead of allowing third-party groups to solicit or harass voters while they wait in line, Georgia’s new election reforms call for a 25-foot space established around voter lines.
Much of the heated rhetoric around this policy has been inaccurate. Voters waiting in line will still have access to water which can easily be arranged by poll workers. It simply establishes a boundary to prevent solicitation of voters while they wait in line.