Georgia Rejects Record Number of Absentee Ballot Requests Under New Voting Laws

Georgia election officials rejected absentee ballot applications in the state’s municipal elections this month at a rate more than four times higher than during the 2020 election cycle, in large part as the result of new restrictions on votingRepublican state legislators passed the bill.

According to an analysis by, 4% of absentee-ballot applications were rejected by election officials ahead of the Nov. 2, elections. This is up from less than 1 % in 2020. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Most of the absentee-ballot applications that were rejected last Year were duplicates of previously submitted applications. This is often because voting groups and local governments sent multiple forms to voters.

SB 202, a new Georgia law requires absentee-ballot applications to be submitted at most 11 days prior to the election. The old deadline was Friday before Election Day. The new law was cited as the reason for 52% of rejected applications. Another 15% of the rejected applications were denied due to incorrect or incomplete ID information.

Most of those people didn’t vote. According to the AJC analysis, only 26% of those whose ballots were rejected by the deadline voted in person on Election Day.

“This is what voter suppression looks like,” charged state Sen. Michelle Au, a Democrat.

Although the state won’t release full voter file data until next year, 19% who requested an absence ballot were not able to submit one before the polls opened on Election Day according to the New Georgia Project Action Fund. A voting rights group. Based on 2020 trends, the group estimates that 13% of people who requested an absentee ballot ended up not voting at all this year, nearly double the 2020 rate, Aklima Khondoker, the group’s chief legal officer, told Salon.

The data shows the “voter suppression law working as intended,” tweeted Hillary Clinton was the former Democratic presidential candidate.

Georgia Republicans passed this law after Joe Biden won the state last November. Democrats won both U.S. Senate races amid increased absentee voter participation during the COVID pandemic. A record 1.3million Georgia voters cast absentee votes in the 2020 election. Two-thirds voted for President Joe Biden.

The law also restricts New ID requirements are imposed for ballot drop boxes. It also includes provisions that critics claim could allow Republican legislators subvert elections.

Local election officials also expressed concern about the possibility of voters being disenfranchised by this new deadline.

“The 11-day deadline is too far in advance of Election Day to adequately serve voters, particularly when there is no provision for voters with unforeseen circumstances who learn shortly before Election Day that they cannot vote in person,” Tonnie Adams, who oversees elections in Georgia’s Heard County, said in an affidavit Supporting a challenge to the law

More than a dozen lawsuits have been filed to challenge the law, including one challenging the validity of the law. suit The Justice Department filed the complaint. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in June that the Georgia law was enacted with the “purpose of denying or abridging” the rights of Black voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

“In the November 2020 general election, Black voters were more likely than white voters to request absentee ballots between ten and four days before Election Day,” the DOJ suit says. “In addition, of the absentee ballots requested during this period, those that were successfully cast and counted were disproportionately cast by Black voters.”

Khondoker called out Republican lawmakers for rushing through the bill without a “racial impact analysis,” arguing that the increased rejection rates “show just how damaging that kind of negligence can be to communities of color.”

“Since we know that Black voters in Georgia were more likely to request absentee ballots than white voters in 2018, 2020, and the January 5th [U.S. Senate] Runoff, restrictions to voting by mail clearly impact those voters at disproportionate rates,” Khondoker said in a statement to Salon. “In a crucial swing state that was decided by 12,000 votes, this kind of seemingly boring or technical administrative burden that the state legislature placed on voters of color could swing the entire nation’s trajectory.”

Some advocates of absentee voting backed the law, arguing it was too short for many voters to submit their ballots.

“The way it was before, you almost were setting voters up to fail,” Amber McReynolds, CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute, told AJC. “That’s actually a best practice to cut it off so that voters are actually receiving the ballot with enough time to get it back.”

McReynolds? wrote on Twitter that because the Georgia law also restricted drop-off options, the 11-day cutoff should be “revisited” to set an “appropriate deadline to ensure voters have enough to time receive, vote & then return their ballot.”

Georgia State Election Board member Sara Tindall Ghazal is a Democrat. She stated that the deadline should be between five and seven days before Election Day.

“Far too many voters end up being disenfranchised,” she told AJC. “It leads to many voters getting their applications rejected and not able to access their ballot otherwise.”

Marc Elias is a prominent Democratic lawyer who challenged the law. said that the increased rate of rejections is a “feature” of the law, “not a flaw.”

“This law wasn’t designed for ‘election integrity’ as Republicans have claimed — it was designed to make it harder for voters to reach the ballot box,” Elias’ voting advocacy group, Democracy Docket, said in a statement.

Kristin Clarke, the first Black woman to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division, alleged at a press conference earlier this year that many of the law’s provisions were “passed with a discriminatory purpose” at a time when the state’s Black population and Black voters’ share of ballots cast by mail continues to increase.

“The provisions we are challenging reduce access to absentee voting at every step of the process, pushing more Black voters to in-person voting, where they will be more likely than white voters to confront long lines,” Clarke said. “SB 202 then imposes additional obstacles to casting an in-person ballot.”

Georgia is only one of many. growing number of Republican-led states that passed restrictive voting laws this year amid a torrent of baseless conspiracy theories about Donald Trump’s election loss. Garland vowed to go after “laws that seek to curb voter access” in other states but acknowledged that the Justice Department has limited power unless Congress passes the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement ActThe bill would reinstate the Voting Rights Act requirement that states with a history or racial discrimination must pre-clear any electoral modifications with the DOJ. After Republicans filibustered it and Democrats like Sens., the bill was unable to pass Congress. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Silena have refused to change the filibuster rule in order to pass voting rights legislation.

“If Georgia had still been covered” by the pre-clearance requirement, Garland said, it is “likely that SB 202 would never have taken effect.”