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Retain the Georgia and Pennsylvania No-Excuse Absentee Ballot

Georgia and Pennsylvania are two of twenty five states that allow eligible voters to request an absentee ballot without providing an excuse for not voting in person. For the 2020 general election nine other states allow the fear of contracting COVID-19 as an excuse. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced during a Georgia House hearing on Dec. 23, 2020 his desire to eliminate no-excuse absentee ballot voting after fifteen years of implementation. Just months before the COVOD-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania House and Senate voted overwhelmingly to expand absentee voting to all voters in the state. Millions opted to vote this way, but now Pa. Rep. Jim Gregory, a Blair County Republican who voted for this a year ago, wants to repeal it.

The 2013 Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder gutted key portions of the Voting Rights Act, which protected eligible voters from discriminatory voting laws. The court claimed those protections were no longer necessary. Since that ruling state legislatures without justification have enacted more restrictive voting requirements and access that infringe on the rights of the poor and minorities. Voting by mail reduces election costs, increases turnout (especially during a pandemic), and encourages people to vote down-ballot and make more informed decisions. One criticism of mail-in voting is the delay in determining the results which can be avoided by the legislatures authorizing pre-election day counting. Another criticism is the inefficient and subjective signature comparison for identification validation. The Help America Vote Act passed by Congress in 2002 allows a valid driver's number as adequate identification for an application for voter registration for an election for federal office. If the individual has no license the last 4 digits of the applicant's social security number is adequate. If the preceding criteria is adequate for voter registration it should be adequate for mail-in ballot voting identification. 

If you live in Georgia please notify your legislators that you oppose eliminating no-excuse absentee ballot voting. You can easily access your Georgia state legislators via legis.ga.gov/members/senate for Senators and legis.ga.gov/members/house for House Representatives.

If you live in Pennsylvania please notify your legislators that you oppose eliminating no-excuse absentee ballot voting. You can easily access your Pennsylvania state legislators via legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator for either Senators or House Representatives.