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How absentee ballots, drop boxes work under Georgia's new voting law

With the pandemic, the election of 2020 saw a record number of Georgia voters who opted to vote by absentee ballot.

ATLANTA — With Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signing the new election bill into law, there are many questions as far as what that means for absentee voting and the use of drop boxes. 

With the coronavirus pandemic, the election of 2020 saw a record number of voters who opted to vote by absentee ballot. 

Here are some of the changes voters will see with absentee ballots and ballot drop boxes under the new election law.

Absentee Ballots

  • Absentee ballots cannot be requested earlier than 78 days or less than 11 days ahead of a general election or the runoff for that election (instead of 180 days prior).  
  • Applications for an absentee ballot cannot be sent to voters unless one is requested.
  • Voters will be required to provide a copy of a Georgia ID, and that could include providing your drivers license number.

Ballot Drop Boxes

Gov. Kemp has touted a piece of the legislation that requires all of Georgia's 159 counties to have at least one drop box for voters after he said it wasn't previously a requirement.

  • Drop boxes must be located at the office of the board of registrars or absentee ballot clerk or inside locations at which advance voting is taking place.
  • Drop boxes shall be closed when advance voting is not happening.
  • Drop boxes are required to be under constant surveillance by an election official, law enforcement official, or licensed security guard. 
  • All ballots inside the box have to be collected at the end of each day by a team of at least two people.

RELATED: Georgia election law explained: Here's what the law does, doesn't do

The 95-page law:

  • Requires an ID number, like a driver’s license, to apply for an absentee ballot
  • Cuts off absentee ballot applications 11 days before an election
  • Limits the number of absentee ballot drop boxes
  • Allows the state to take control of what it calls “underperforming” local election systems
  • Disallows volunteers from giving away food and drink to voters waiting in lines

Republicans said state election law was overdue to get an overhaul, irrespective of the 2020 election, which saw significant losses for the party. 

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