ACLU of Georgia

How SB202 Changes...

VOTE BY MAIL

Hover over the yellow boxes to see the changes

Before SB202

Voters could apply for a VBM ballot 180 days before an election.

After SB202 (Current Law)

Voters can apply for a VBM ballot 78 days before an election.
GA CODE §21-2-381(a)(1)(A); S.B. 202 §25

CONSEQUENCES

  • Restricts vote by mail by shortening the window for voters to request a ballot.
  • Increases the chance that voters will receive their ballots late.
  • Increases the logistical burden on counties as the flood of VBM applications coincides with preparation for Early Vote.

Before SB202

Deadline to apply for a VBM ballot was 3 days before an election.

After SB202 (Current Law)

Deadline to apply for a VBM ballot is 11 days before the election.
§21-2-381(a)(1)(A); S.B. 202 §25

CONSEQUENCES

  • Restricts vote by mail by closing the application window before many voters know they need a VBM ballot. (2)

Before SB202

Voters could use the SOS's (3) online portal to request a VBM ballot.

After SB202 (Current Law)

Unlikely there will be an online portal as voters must sign their VBM application with "pen and ink."
§21-2-381(a) (1)(c)(i); S.B. 202 §25

CONSEQUENCES

  • Restricts vote by mail by removing voter convenience.

Before SB202

When submitting a VBM ballot application, voters only needed to provide their signature.

After SB202 (Current Law)

When submitting a VBM ballot application voters must provide their driver's license or State-issued ID card number (4), name, date of birth, registration and delivery addresses, and signed oath. In lieu of a DL/ID number voters must include a copy of valid identification (5).
§21-2-381(a)(1)(A); S.B. 202 §25

CONSEQUENCES

  • Forces voters to photocopy and mail sensitive personal identification information. 
  • Disenfranchises Georgians who vote by mail, especially Black, Latino, disabled, immunocompromised, and low-income voters, and any voters who do not have access to copiers and printers (6).

Before SB202

When returning a completed VBM ballot, voters only needed to provide their signature on the outer envelope (7).

After SB202 (Current Law)

When returning a completed VBM ballot, voters must provide sensitive personal information on the outer oath envelope, including their driver's license or State-issued ID card number or the last 4 digits of their SSN number; and their printed name, date of birth, and signed oath. In lieu of a DL/ID or SSN number voters must include a copy of valid identification (8) in the outer envelope.
§21-2-381(a)(1)(A); S.B. 202 §25

Before SB202

The county election office had to mail out VBM ballots 49-45 days before a federal election.

After SB202 (Current Law)

The county election office must mail out VBM ballots 29-25 days before a federal election.
§21-2-384(a)(2); S.B. 202 §27

CONSEQUENCES

  • Restricts vote by mail by delaying mailing VBM ballots until less than a month before an election, affecting nearly 600k Georgians on the rollover list and thousands who submitted their requests early.

Before SB202

SOS, county election offices, and third-parties could mail pre-filled VBM applications to voters.

After SB202 (Current Law)

SOS and county election offices cannot send voters VBM applications unprompted. Third-party groups still can, but cannot pre-fill the application, must provide a disclaimer, and must also ensure that applications are only going to voters who have NOT already requested, received, or voted a VBM ballot. SEB may require third-party groups to pay $100 per duplicate VBM application.
§21-2-381(c)(ii)&(B); S.B. 202 §25

CONSEQUENCES

  • Hinders counties from providing service to voters.
  • Severely curtails third-party groups’ VBM get out the vote (GOTV) efforts, by creating potential financial harm.

Before SB202

There was no restriction on who could handle a completed VBM application.

After SB202 (Current Law)

Makes it a misdemeanor (9) for somebody other than the voter or an authorized person to handle or return a completed VBM application.
§21-2-381(a) (C)(ii); S.B. 202 §25

CONSEQUENCES

  • Criminalizes the handling and delivery of a VBM application by voters’ friends and 3rd parties. Voters are unlikely to expect the VBM application to carry the same restrictions as the VBM ballot.

Footnotes:

1: A vote-by-mail or VBM ballot is the same as an absentee ballot.
2: 34,313 Georgians not only requested VBM ballots, but voted them successfully in the ten days before the general election in November ’20 and runoff election in January ’21.
3: (Georgia’s) Secretary of State
4:From an identification card issued pursuant to Article 5 of Chapter 5 of Title 40.
5: Copy of a form of identification listed in subsection (c) of Code §21-2-417, such as (1) A Georgia driver’s license which was properly issued by the appropriate state agency; (2) A valid Georgia voter identification card issued under Code Section §21-2-417.1 or other valid identification card issued by a branch, department, agency, or entity of the State of Georgia, any other state, or the United States authorized by law to issue personal identification, provided that such identification card contains a photograph of the elector; (3) A valid United States passport; (4) A valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the elector and issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the United States government, this state, or any county, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of this state; (5) A valid United States military identification card, provided that such identification card contains a photograph of the elector; or (6) A valid tribal identification card containing a photograph of the elector; OR (7) a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of such elector.
6:Over 50% of Georgians who vote by mail are over the age of 60 or physically disabled.
7: Note that some voters needed to provide additional information if their application was flagged for signature mismatch or if the voter was casting a ballot for the first time and their registration was not yet “perfected.”
8: See footnote #4.
9: In Georgia a misdemeanor is a crime typically punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, or both