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Georgia Governor Brian Kemp Signs THREE Major Election Integrity Bills into Law Ahead of 2024 Presidential Election

Governor Brian Kemp made a significant move on Tuesday by signing three pivotal pieces of legislation that aim to reshape Georgia’s election procedures in preparation for the 2024 presidential elections.

The new legislation, House Bill 974, House Bill 1207, and Senate Bill 189, aims to enhance ballot security, voter eligibility verification, and auditing protocols in the battleground state.

House Bill 974, amends election procedures in Georgia primarily concerning the security and auditing of ballots. Here are the key provisions of the bill:

  1. Ballot Security: It mandates that ballots used in optical scan voting systems and ballot marking devices be printed on paper with a visible watermark security feature. This watermark must identify the paper as an official Georgia ballot, ensuring the authenticity while maintaining voter anonymity.
  2. Scanning and Posting of Ballots: The bill requires that all absentee ballots be scanned to create a digital image with a resolution of at least 600 dots per inch. These scanned images are to be maintained in a statewide system, which the Secretary of State is tasked to establish and manage.
  3. Risk-Limiting Audits: It expands the types of contests subject to risk-limiting audits, which use statistical methods to ensure the accuracy of election outcomes. The law defines the parameters for these audits, including the maximum statistical probability that an incorrect outcome could go undetected.
  4. Pilot Program for Auditing Using Optical Character Recognition: A pilot program is to be created to audit paper ballots using optical character recognition technology. This audit will focus on verifying the human-readable text on ballots, excluding any machine-readable codes like QR codes.
  5. Public Transparency: The bill also includes provisions to enhance transparency, requiring that audit processes be conducted in public view and that details of the audits be made available to the public promptly.

House Bill 1207 introduces several changes to election procedures and integrity. Here’s a summary of the key provisions:

  1. U.S. Citizenship Requirement: The bill stipulates that anyone employed or retained by a county election superintendent to perform election-related duties must be a U.S. citizen.
  2. Reopening Candidate Qualifying: If no candidates qualify during the initial period for nonpartisan or partisan elections, the qualifying period will be reopened to allow more candidates to register.
  3. Ballot Proofing and Accuracy: It introduces requirements for ballot proofing to ensure the accuracy of ballots. Candidates or their agents will be able to review and verify the draft versions of the ballots before they are finalized.
  4. Poll Watchers’ Access and Regulations: The bill defines and regulates the roles and behaviors of poll watchers, ensuring they have access to observe the election process without interfering.
  5. Protections Against Election Interference: The bill sets out specific criminal offenses related to election interference, such as preventing officials from performing their duties or tampering with voting equipment, with severe penalties for violations.
  6. Adjustments to Voting Equipment: Provisions are made for the number of voting booths or systems based on expected turnout and other factors, ensuring adequate equipment is available for elections.
  7. Overall Integrity and Conduct of Elections: Several other adjustments and clarifications aim to improve the integrity and conduct of the electoral process, including handling of optical scanning voting systems and provisions against election-related violence.

Senate Bill 189 primarily focuses on amending election and voting procedures. Key provisions include:

  1. Removal of the Secretary of State from the State Election Board: The Secretary of State will become a non-voting ex officio member of the board.
  2. Conflict of Interest Rules: The bill introduces stricter conflict of interest rules for state and local election officers, especially regarding any business dealings with companies that provide voting equipment or services related to ballot tabulation.
  3. Ballot Access: It includes provisions to facilitate ballot access for certain political parties or political bodies, particularly in nominating presidential electors.
  4. Residency and Voter Challenges: The bill revises rules concerning residency determination for voting purposes and the procedures for challenging a voter’s eligibility.
  5. Tabulation of Ballots: It mandates that physical paper ballots, rather than any electronic or machine-generated codes, be used for vote tabulation and recounts. It also allows certain smaller elections to use manually marked paper ballots.
  6. Absentee Ballots: The bill specifies procedures for handling and tabulating absentee ballots, including earlier processing times and enhanced security measures.
  7. High-Resolution Ballot Scans: A pilot program will be established to audit paper ballots using optical character recognition technology, ensuring audits are based on the human-readable parts of the ballot rather than any machine-readable codes.
  8. Election Date Adjustments: Adjustments are made to the timing of certain special elections, ensuring they do not coincide with statewide primaries or general elections unless completely separated in their conduct.

Of course, the lawless Democrats are not happy with these three laws, which aim to bolster the security of our elections.

AP reported:

Fair Fight Action, a voting rights group founded by former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, slammed the signing of SB 189, calling the measure a “voter suppression bill that emboldens right-wing activists in their efforts to kick Black and brown voters off the rolls.”

“By signing SB 189 to become law, Brian Kemp delivered a gift to MAGA election deniers,” the group said in a statement.

Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia, called the bill a “step back for voters’ rights and voting access.”

“We are committed to protecting Georgia voters and will see the governor in court,” she said in a statement.

An email to a spokesman for the governor’s office, Garrison Douglas, was not immediately returned.

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