Georgia House Speaker David Ralston called a press conference Wednesday afternoon in which he announced a proposal to make free voter ID cards available to all Georgians.
“I am committed to eliminating barriers to voting for all legally eligible Georgians,” House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, told reporters during a news conference Wednesday afternoon outside the House Chamber.
Georgia already offers a free voter ID card through the Department of Drivers Services, Ralston said, but the ones he’s proposing are solely for voting purposes. State ID cards are similar to driver’s licenses in that they are compliant with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s REAL ID standard and may be used for voter identification, opening bank accounts, and suitable for TSA security checks inside airports.
Coincidentally, former President Donald J. Trump said at CPAC last weekend in Orlando if it weren’t for “rampant voter fraud” with respect to votes from Detroit and Philadelphia, he would have won re-election.
Those claims have been proven false time and again in court.
“We should eliminate the insanity of mass and very corrupt mail-in voting,” Trump said. “We must have voter ID.”
During a Wednesday afternoon presser regarding the expansion of COVID-19 sites, Gov. Kemp was asked a question regarding voting bills. Kemp said, “In my time as Secretary of State and Governor, we make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
Meanwhile, it costs $32 to purchase an ID card in Georgia that expires after eight years.
Under HB 531, voters must include their Georgia Driver’s License or ID number, or a photocopy of another government-issued document in order to request an absentee ballot. That bill is now in the Senate.
“Today, before the eyes of this country, Georgia is poised to pass some of the most egregious, dangerous and most expensive voter suppression acts in this entire nation, rolling back years of hardball progress and renewing our own reputation for discrimination,” the Rev. James Woodall, president of the Georgia NAACP, said at a rally Monday.
Georgia Democrats have said, time and again that voter ID, restrictions on absentee ballots and early voting are draconian policies and serve as a Trump-inspired correction to the record turnout in the 2020 General Election.
“It’s pathetically obvious to anyone paying attention that when Trump lost the November election and Georgia flipped control of the US Senate to Democrats shortly after, Republicans got the message that they were in a political death spiral and now they are doing anything they can to silence the voices of Black and Brown voters specifically because they largely powered these wins,” said State Rep. Renitta Shannon, D-Decatur.
Also, the Senate Ethics Committee approved a Republican-backed bill that will limit who can vote absentee in Georgia to those 65 and older, people with a disability, and people who will be away from their precinct on Election Day.
That bill would do away with no-excuse absentee voting adopted by a Republican-controlled legislature in 2005. It could soon move to the full Senate for a vote.