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Georgia ACLU threatens lawsuit over state’s proposed election law

A new voting bill passed by Georgia's state legislature violates the National Voter Registration Act, the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia said Friday. If approved by the governor, the new law would allow any third party to automatically get on the Georgia ballot without petition signatures from the state as long as the party has gained access to ballots in at least 20 states or territories. File Photo by Tami Chappell/UPI

March 29 (UPI) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia Friday said a new voting bill passed by the state legislature violates the National Voter Registration Act.

The ACLU threatened to sue if Gov. Brian Kemp signs it into law.

“Access to the ballot is at the heart of our democracy. This election ‘Frankenbill’ violates the National Voter Registration Act,” Georgia ACLU executive director Andrea Young said in a statement. “We are committed to protecting Georgia voters. If the governor signs this bill, we will see him in court.”

The ACLU said Georgia Senate Bill 189 makes it easier for people to file “baseless, mass voter challenges, requires all advance and absentee ballots to be counted within an hour of the polls closing, changes ballot design, makes harmful changes for unhoused citizens, and creates unrealistic and burdensome requirements of election workers.”

The bill passed on a predominately Republican party line vote.

The bill could interfere with the Georgia secretary of state’s ability to certify the 2024 election results.

The bill allows any third party to automatically get on the Georgia ballot without petition signatures from the state as long as the party has gained access to ballots in at least 20 states or territories.

The Georgia ACLU Friday threatened to sue over voting legislation passed by the legislature if Gov. Brian Kemp signs it into law. ACLU executive director Andrea Young said it violates the National Voter Registration Act and makes it easier to file baseless, mass voter challenges. Photo courtesy of Georgia ACLU

That provision could make it easier for third-party presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to more easily get on the battleground state’s ballot.

The bill also requires all homeless people in the state to redo their existing registrations by registering with county registrars. They will no longer be able to register to vote at shelters or any other place but the registrar’s offices.

Among the changes are expansion of challenges to voter registrations.

“It is almost encouraging … really anti-democratic vigilantes to come in and challenge your right to be on the voting list,” Young said.

The new legislation would ban the use of post office boxes as voter registration mailing addresses, which could affect small towns that have too few residents to deliver mail to individual home addresses. Currently, places like that use post office boxes for residents.

Young said the ACLU position on the law is that it should be easy for every citizen to vote. She said “all of these tricks to try to create barriers for Georgia citizens to have a voice in their government is anti-democracy.”

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