Mar 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Jimmy Carter "disheartened, saddened, and angry" by Georgia bill restricting voting access

Photo of Jimmy Carter's face
Photo: Scott Cunningham via Getty Images

Former President Jimmy Carter rebuked Georgia lawmakers Tuesday for pushing legislation to restrict access to voting.

Why it matters: Carter's voiced opposition comes after the state Senate passed a bill Monday that would repeal no-excuse absentee voting and require more voter ID, creating new obstacles for voters after Republicans lost both the presidential and U.S. Senate elections.

What he's saying: "Many of the proposed changes are reactions to allegations of fraud for which no evidence was produced — allegations that were, in fact, refuted through various audits, recounts, and other measures," Carter said in a statement published on the Carter Center website. "The proposed changes appear to be rooted in partisan interests, not in the interests of all Georgia voters."

  • "They should proactively expand voter access through safe, secure administrative practices," he added.
  • He lauded November's "successful set of elections with record turnout and few or no fraudulent ballots counted — which should make us all proud."
  • "Now, as our state legislators seek to turn back the clock through legislation that will restrict access to voting for many Georgians, I am disheartened, saddened, and angry," he wrote.
  • He noted that he is "disappointed" advocates of restrictive changes have "repeatedly and selectively" referenced a report prepared by a 2005 commission he co-chaired.
  • "In the 16 years since the report’s release, vote-by-mail practices have progressed significantly as new technologies have been developed," he countered. "In light of these advances, I believe that voting by mail can be conducted in a manner that ensures election integrity."
    • "This is just one of several ways to expand access to the voting process for voters across the state, regardless of political affiliation."

The big picture: The bill now goes to the state House of Representatives, which is also controlled by Republicans.

  • The chamber passed its own bill of voting restrictions last week.
  • Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said Georgians have "lost confidence" in the election process, despite multiple audits in the state showing no evidence of fraud.
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