Georgia Senator Wants to Ban Ballot Drop Boxes After Voting to Install Them

Butch Miller, Georgia Senate President Pro Tempore, is pushing to eliminate all absentee ballot drop boxes They were installed in the state only months after he voted.

Miller, the No. Miller, the No. 2 Republican and a candidate as lieutenant governor, introduced Senate Bill 325Drop boxes were a central point for pro-Trump Republicans who ginned. unfounded fears about mail-in voting. The state’s election board approved the use of drop boxes amid the pandemic last year.

“Drop boxes were introduced as an emergency measure during the pandemic but many counties did not follow the security guidelines in place, such as the requirement for camera surveillance on every drop box,” Miller said in a statement. “Moving forward, we can return to a pre-pandemic normal of voting in person. The removal of drop boxes will help to rebuild the lost trust. Many view them as the weak link in securing our elections from fraud. For the small number of Georgians who need to vote absentee, that will remain as easy and accessible as it was before 2020.”

Voting rights groups accused Miller of “going all-in on the Big Lie.”

“Instead of figuring out how to put together policies that will help our people, he is preemptively erecting barriers to voting a year out,” Stephanie Ali, policy director at the New Georgia Project, said in a statement, arguing that Miller’s proposal shows he is “terrified” of the state’s changing demographics after Republicans got swept in the last round of statewide races.

Election officials around the country have warned that proposals like Miller’s will make it more difficult to vote, particularly for voters of color.

“Efforts like Sen. Miller’s to remove drop boxes or place other restrictions on voting are not about election security, but part of a national coordinated attack on democracy,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, chairwoman of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, told Salon. “Nationwide, the voter suppression proposals and laws disproportionately affect people of color and working people — these are the voices extreme lawmakers are trying to suppress to tip future elections in their favor. Candidates should win by running good campaigns, not by undemocratically taking away Americans’ freedoms.”

Brad Raffensperger is the Georgia Secretary of State, a Republican who has served as Secretary of State. pushed back against false GOP election claims and Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his loss, rejected Miller’s claim that every county did not have video surveillance, noting that officials had identified only one irregularity: a woman who cast a ballot one minute after the deadline.

“This office and I have worked very hard on making sure we have integrity up and down the line,” he told WSB-TV.

Tuesday was the Heritage Foundation, an conservative think tank. helped the GOP write A slew new voting restrictions have been added ranked Georgia No. 1 in the country on “election integrity,” including the new drop boxes.

“It means that we’re a leader in voter integrity and also security,” Raffensperger told the news outlet.

Georgia Democrats criticized Miller for promoting the proposal after he stated in a recent interview that newly-arrived Georgians “need to assimilate into our values and our culture.”

“Butch Miller’s proposal to blow up our elections based on lies is part of his sad, desperate attempt to win over far-right voters after Donald Trump endorsed his primary opponent,” Scott Hogan, executive director of the Democratic Party of Georgia, said in a statement. “We already know Butch Miller is terrified of Georgia’s diversifying electorate — now, he’s trying to silence the voters of color who elected Democrats last cycle by banning one of the most popular ways they chose to cast their ballots.”

Miller joined other Georgia Republicans a few months prior to his support. Senate Bill 202A comprehensive set of voting restrictions that codified Drop boxes may be used even though they are limited in availability. Miller now faces a Trump-endorsed opponent and seems determined to win over Trump supporters. accused him he didn’t do enough to reverse his election loss This has been repeated reviews and investigations have found no evidence of fraud or widespread irregularities in Georgia — or for that matter in any other state.

“Trump’s grip on the Republican Party is clear: he has made endorsing the Big Lie a litmus test for his support,” Griswold said. “Now, hundreds of candidates running under the GOP banner at the county, state and federal levels have promoted lies about the 2020 elections. We need lawmakers and election administrators who will respect voters and their decisions at the ballot box, even if they don’t like the outcome. That is how democracy works.”

Miller is running to succeed Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, is running to replace Miller. He spent much of the year fighting conspiracy theories about election results from his own party. Duncan has stated that he believes drop boxes should not be addressed.

“I’m one of those Republicans that want more people to vote,” he said earlier this year.

An analysis By the Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionGeorgia Public Broadcasting found that heavily Democratic counties such as Fulton, DeKalb and Cobb were more likely to use drop boxes than Republican ones earlier this year. More than 305,000 out of 547,000 absentee voting ballots in the Atlanta metro area were cast using drop boxes. This compares with 32% of absentee voting in 11 smaller countries.

“This legislation is nothing more than a last-ditch attempt to further undermine faith in the results of the 2020 election and win support with those who simply cannot accept that they lost,” Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts said in a statement. “Our absentee ballot drop boxes were safe and secure — three counts of the vote and monitors from the Secretary of State’s office proves that.”

Drop boxes have been banned in Georgia. Although SB 202 required that each county have at least one dropbox per 100,000 active voters, they now must be located within early voting sites and accessible only during early voting hours. Voting rights advocates accused Republicans of seeking to “limit options in the metro areas versus the rural areas” where Republicans tend to do better.

Miller’s proposal comes ahead of two high-profile elections in the state next year. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., the state’s first Black senator, is up for re-election and appears likely to face Trump favorite Herschel Walker, a former NFL star. Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican who has rejected Trump’s election fraud claims, is set to take on Trump-endorsed former Sen. David Perdue in the GOP primary, ahead of a potential rematch with former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, who refused to concede her race in 2018 after accusing Kemp of voter suppression. Abrams has charged that Georgia Republicans’ crackdown on ballot access is a “redux of Jim Crow in a suit and tie” targeting Black voters.

SB 202 is already having noticeable effects on the state’s elections. Absentee ballot requests that were rejected rose 400% in November’s municipal elections after the state imposed new restrictions, and 52% of rejected applications were denied because they were submitted after the state’s new deadline, which requires voters to request ballots at least 11 days before an election. The state legislature has used the new law to often replace local election officials by their own picks. replacing Black Democrats with white conservatives.

Griswold said laws like SB 202 are part of the “worst attack on democracy in recent history.” She called on Congress to pass voting rights legislation in response to the ballot access crackdown, urging the Senate to reform the filibuster because “American democracy is more important than antiquated Senate rules.” While the Senate has renewed its focus on voting rights amid increasingly aggressive Republican gerrymandering, which threatens the Democratic House majority, conservative Democrats like Sens. Senators Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona and Joe Manchin from West Virginia have rejected any changes to filibuster.

“Access to the ballot box shouldn’t be dependent on voters’ zip code, political party or the amount of money in their bank account. Every eligible American deserves to have their voice heard and their vote counted,” Griswold said. “Congress needs to do its job and pass the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act as soon as possible to combat this historic wave of voter suppression.”