ATLANTA – Republicans appear to be divided on the issue of absentee voting. Some lawmakers want to make it much more restrictive in future legislation. But two powerful Republicans are resisting key proposals.
It’s an issue that could cut along the Republican divide that has developed since the November election – with Republicans in areas strongly supporting President Trump in seeking major reforms, but other Republicans saying no.
There is broad Republican support for stepping up the scrutiny of signatures on postal ballot requests. The state’s online application portal currently requires no signature, only a driver’s license number and date of birth.
Others want to eliminate the absentee ballot boxes.
Many want to end the mail ballots without excuse. This would mean requiring candidates for the mail-in ballot to give a legal reason for the ballot, such as medical problems, advanced age or a planned absence from their residence in Georgia.
Republican Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan told us he did not want to eliminate absentee voting without excuse.
“I would not support this. I think it is a step in the wrong direction for all Georgians who show up to vote. I think there are other opportunities and places to make improvements,” Duncan said. .
Speaker of the House David Ralston Also says he is not convinced that it makes sense to add restrictions to postal ballots.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, has said he supports the repeal of postal voting without excuse.
Last month, the Republican Senate caucus issued a press release saying it would draft a bill requiring “votes for absent for cause.” But senators have yet to pre-tabled such a bill as the legislative session begins on Monday. They did not acknowledge receipt of a request for comment.
Duncan and Ralston’s opposition means any bill that passes out of committee could languish without a vote in the House or Senate.