ATLANTA, Georgia — Despite its new restrictive election law, Georgia is among top states in voter accessibility, according to the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Accessibility. The center released a 50 state review Thursday.
Georgians are accustomed to having the option to early vote, weeks before the ballots are counted. According to the Center for Election Innovation and Accessibility, these seven states allow no in-person early voting: Alabama, Connecticut, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Since 2004, Georgians have been allowed to cast absentee ballots by merely requesting the ballot. But these eight states don’t allow excuses for absentee voting: Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.
Georgia is among the 35 states with the best voter access, according to the center.
"The fact is, Georgia started, even before SB202, better than most states in terms of access," said David Becker, founder of the CEIA.
The center was formed after security issues arose during the 2016 election that sent Donald Trump to the White House. It’s mostly funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – and has been critical of Trump’s effort to undermine the 2020 election.
It’s also been critical of efforts by Georgia lawmakers to rein in voting access. Last month, a law passed restricting weekend early voting, tightening access to absentee ballot drop boxes, and restricting food and water distribution to voters waiting in line at precincts.
"It’s important to note SB202, which passed, did take them a step backward from that space that they were at," Becker said. "But still, in regard to the baseline they had with mail-in voting and early voting, they still were in that top group along with other states."
The report was a rare bright moment for Georgia's embattled Secretary of State, who has taken heat from Trump and from Democrats for his support of SB 202. "Take a look at New York. Why not look at President Biden’s home state of Delaware, or Connecticut. Have them fix those three states instead, if they're so concerned about early voting, no excuse absentee voting. We have all that here in Georgia," Raffensperger said Thursday.
Critics said Georgia’s new election law fixed a problem that didn’t previously exist and was designed to appease Trump supporters angry over the 2020 election. Even with this new upbeat report about Georgia’s election access, that argument isn’t going anywhere.