Georgia Updates Voting Rules Before Jan. 5 Senate Runoff Races

Georgia Updates Voting Rules Before Jan. 5 Senate Runoff Races
Gwinnett County election workers handle ballots as part of the recount for the 2020 presidential election at the Beauty P. Baldwin Voter Registrations and Elections Building in Lawrenceville, Georgia, on Nov. 16, 2020. (Megan Varner/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

The Georgia State Election Board approved two emergency rules about absentee voting: continued use of drop boxes and the requirement for counties to process absentee ballots starting one week before the upcoming election.

The moves were made ahead of the Senate runoff races between Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and Raphael Warnock, as well as Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Jon Ossoff in early January.

“The number of absentee ballot requests that we’re seeing for the runoff is large as well, so if we want results at any time quickly, I think we’re going to need to do this,” general counsel Ryan Germany said, according to GPB. “The last week before the election, it becomes mandatory to do processing and scanning.”

The board approved the rules on Monday in a meeting overseen by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who has come under fire in recent weeks over how the election was handled in Georgia. Some Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have said that he mismanaged various aspects of the vote-tabulation effort in the state, while also accusing him of lacking transparency.

Raffensperger has denied there was any election fraud in the state that would overturn the race in favor of Trump.

The five-person board on Monday voted to extend the 24/7-monitored drop boxes for the Jan. 5 runoff election. The move was approved over the summer in the midst of the CCP virus pandemic. The second rule requires the processing of absentee ballots no later than the week before the runoff.

A third rule was proposed during the meeting but was scrapped. It involved residency concerns for new voter registrations ahead of the runoff election.

It comes as some prominent Democrats have suggested that people from out of the state move to Georgia to vote on Jan. 5 in a bid to potentially establish a Democratic Senate majority by defeating Sens. Loeffler and Perdue. Republicans currently hold 50 seats while Democrats hold 48.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said earlier this month that he would be moving to Georgia to help with campaigning in the state. Some pundits, including New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, said they want to see people move to Georgia to vote for Warnock and Ossoff.

“There should be a coordination of resources. Everyone who campaigned for Joe should get ready to head to Georgia. I’ll go,” he said, adding that he wants “everybody” to move “to Georgia in the next month or two, registers to vote, and votes for these two Democratic senators.”

“It’s the only way to sideline Mitch and give Joe a unified government. There isn’t much time. The earliest date for absentee ballots to be mailed for the runoff is Nov. 18. The registration deadline is Dec. 7. The in-person early voting begins Dec. 14” he said.

However, their suggestion could prove to be legally precarious, said some experts.

“I’ve seen people saying they’ll move to Georgia, but it’s a lot more difficult than they think,” Eddie Zipperer, assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College, told Fox News earlier in the week.

He then warned: “It would be very dangerous and, ultimately, I presume, not worth it.”

Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
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