Georgia Takes Center Stage in Battle Over Voting Rights


The automatic registration system, which registers voters when they apply for or renew a driver’s license, was put in place in 2016 under the Republican governor at the time, Nathan Deal.

Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, another Republican, has credited the system with drastically increasing voter registration numbers, and Republicans have cited such figures to push back against charges leveled by Ms. Abrams and others that Georgia Republicans want to suppress votes.

No-excuse absentee voting was approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2005 and was used by many voters during the pandemic. In December, Mr. Raffensperger supported ending no-excuse absentee voting, saying it “opens the door to potential illegal voting.”

Mr. Raffensperger took that stance even as he defended Georgia’s electoral system against accusations by Mr. Trump that the election was somehow rigged; his refusal to support the former president’s baseless claims earned him the enmity of Mr. Trump and Georgia Republicans allied with him.

Mr. Raffensperger’s office did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday on the current legislative efforts in the Legislature, including the House bill, which would remove the secretary of state from his role as chair of the State Elections Board.

Cody Hall, a spokesman for Mr. Kemp, repeated an oft-used phrase of his, saying that the governor wanted to make it “easy to vote and hard to cheat” in Georgia.

Kasey Carpenter, a Republican state representative whose district is a conservative swath of Northwest Georgia, said the House bill included a number of common-sense provisions that Democrats would be supporting if it were not for the intense partisan nature of the times. Changes to mail-in procedures, he said, were particularly important given the sharp increase in people who chose to vote that way because of the restrictions of the pandemic.


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