Georgia election reform bill signed into law

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A bill backed by the Georgia GOP that will overhaul election protocols in the state was signed into law Thursday.

The legislation includes new restrictions on voting by mail, and increases legislative control over elections in the state.

Opponents claim the measure is a needless reaction to former President Trump’s claims that widespread voter fraud in the state lead to his defeat there in the 2020 election.

Georgia — a traditionally red state — narrowly voted for President Biden and two Democratic US Senators amid record-breaking turnout in the last election cycle.

The new law limits the window in which absentee ballots can be requested, and cuts the number of locations and times ballot drop boxes can be accessed.

Voting-Bills-Georgia

State Rep. Park Cannon, D-Atlanta, is placed into the back of a Georgia State Capitol patrol car after being arrested by Georgia State Troopers at the Georgia State Capitol Building in Atlanta, Thursday, March 25, 2021.

Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

U.S.-GEORGIA-ATLANTA-SENATE-RUNOFFS

U.S.-GEORGIA-ATLANTA-SENATE-RUNOFFS

A bill backed by the Georgia GOP that will overhaul election protocols in the state was signed into law Thursday.

Xinhua/Wang Xiaoheng via Getty Images

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The measure also gives the Republican-led senate and house more control over election administration, including the option to appoint the chair of the election board and remove and replace county election officials.

The new law will also cut the time frame for runoff elections and ban groups from handing out food and water to voters.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was delivering remarks after signing the bill when he was interrupted by a ten protestors, including two lawmakers, outside of his Atlanta office.

Kemp, a Republican, asked an aide “what’s the problem,” before a livestream of the ceremony went dark.

Voting Bills Georgia

Voting Bills Georgia

Ann White of Roswell holds protest signs on the North Wing stairs of the Georgia State Capitol building on day 38 of the legislative session in Atlanta on Thursday, March 25, 2021.

Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Barry Fleming, Lynn Smith

Barry Fleming, Lynn Smith

Rep. Barry Fleming receives a hug from Rep. Lynn Smith, R-Newnan, after a bill he sponsored, SB 202, passed in the House Chambers in a legislative session on March 25, 2021.

Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

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State Rep. Erica Thomas, a Democrat, who is black, was arrested after knocking on Kemp’s door during his speech.

The measure was filled with “voter suppression tactics,” a top Democrat said.

“We are witnessing right now a massive and unabashed assault on voting rights unlike anything we’ve seen since the Jim Crow era, Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler said.

With AP wires

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