Georgia’s Restrictive Election Laws Disenfranchised Voters: Analysis


According to a report released Friday by Mother Jones.

The GOP-backed law signed into law in March 2021 limits the use of drop boxes, reduces the time voters have to request and return mail-in ballots, imposes new identity requirements and prohibits officials electoral authorities to send unsolicited requests to vote to voters.

Comparing data from last November’s municipal elections with the 2020 presidential election, a few points have become clear.

First, Georgians who got mail-in ballots in 2021 were twice as likely to have them rejected. This could be due to a number of factors. A potential factor is a ballot received after the Election Day deadline. This may be related to the fact that mail service is used instead of drop boxes, of which there were fewer in 2021, as Republicans decided there could only be one drop box for 100,000 active voters in a county. This led to the number of drop boxes in the four metropolitan Atlanta counties dropping from 97 in 2020 to 23 in 2021. Another potential reason for rejected ballots was missing or incorrect credentials, which in some cases could be due to changed identification requirements.

Second, if this same frequency of rejected ballots in 2021 had occurred in the 2020 presidential election, approximately 31,000 fewer votes would have been cast. Biden’s margin of victory in Georgia was less than 12,000 votes. Notably, Democrats in 2021 who voted by mail outnumbered Republicans who did so by about 3.5 to 1.

Finally, 2.19% of Georgians who applied for mail-in ballots in 2021 ended up not voting at all. That may not seem like a lot, but that percentage is just under 44 times the percentage of Georgians who requested a ballot, declined it and did not vote in 2020.

The effect of the Georgia law is another example of how Republicans in several states last year — 19, according to the Brennan Center for Justice — made it harder to vote. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation similar to Georgia’s last September. And even in blue states like Pennsylvania, Republicans are suing for expanded mail-in ballot access without an excuse, even though many of them voted for it in 2019.

“What we have seen is past this [past] year represents more than a third of all voting restrictions that have been passed in the past decade,” Wendy Weiser, vice president of the democracy program at the Brennan Center, told NBC News. “The way a lot of these voting restrictions work, they work by making it harder for a subset of the electorate to vote — and that tends to be disproportionately voters of color, sometimes students, but they are very targeted.”

The restrictions also underscore the need — and so far failure — for Congress to pass voting rights legislation, as experts say the Supreme Court’s recent limits on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 serve as tacit approval for GOP lawmakers.


Comments are closed.