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Critics, supporters split on how much Georgia's new election law could cost the state

Right now, neither side can say definitively how much the law might cost to actually put in place.

ATLANTA — The back and forth over Georgia’s new election law continues, as opponents argue the bill will cost millions to implement. 

Supporters of the bill however, argue the financial impact will be minimum.

Right now, however, it’s unknown how big the bill will be.

One of the things Democrats objected to when it comes to Georgia’s new election law is that the initial bill was brought up without a fiscal note.

A fiscal note is a written estimate of costs, savings, revenue gain or loss that might result from a bill.

By law, a fiscal note must be added if a bill would cost state or local governments combined $5 million dollars or more.

GOP leaders, like bill sponsor state Sen. Mike Dugan, believe it won’t cost that much so didn’t include one.

“If I can look at it, and do the cost associated with each section of the bill and know it’s not going to have a significant fiscal impact, why would I waste taxpayer dollars to do a fiscal note to say a fiscal note is not needed," he said.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said it’s not easy to crunch the numbers because of the different sizes of Georgia’s counties.

“Probably would be tough to calculate right now,” he said.

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But, Marilyn Marks with Coalition for Good Governance said a glance at the new law shows counties will have a huge financial undertaking.

“There is a multi-million-dollar expense that they’re not talking about,” she claimed.

Marks said things like new security paper, and cities and counties hiring security guards to watch empty and locked drop boxes are just two items that could cost a lot of money.

Dugan stood by the bill having limited cost increases.

“Using a driver’s license instead of a signature, that’s not a fiscal impact,” he said

But, Marks said having a secure system in place to prevent someone from stealing someone’s identity could be costly.

"When we think about 159 counties trying to install some type of new secure transmission - just the installation costs the training cost are going to be very high," she explained.

Additionally, Marks said she worries that with local elections in November, cities and counties may not have the time to implement changes, even if the cost is low.

While neither side can say definitively how much the bill might cost, they also haven’t given any picture of how much money, if any, the law might save Georgia.


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