Opinion

Why should you care about HB531

In addition to the current state of our government (ongoing pandemic, recession, lag in education, etc.), comes an added problem: The HB531 bill.  

What is HB531? It is a 48-page bill with more than 60 voter suppression laws that were introduced after the last runoff election in Georgia. This is important because the right to vote has often been taken for granted. And, considering this last election had the largest number of voters in history, HB531 is another way for those in power to control who gets a say in how we live our lives. 

The Georgia House of Representatives has already passed this bill with a Republican majority ruling 97-72 after two hours of debate from both parties. There have been protests outside the Georgia capitol against this legislation.  

Organizations like FairFightAction and others have sent letters to try to stop this bill from being passed to no avail. This bill will have a direct effect on those that live in poorer communities and will make voting all that more difficult.  

To summarize how restricting this bill is here are some highlights of what is included in HB531 from VoteSaveAmerica, Esosa Osa, and Lauren Groh-Wargo of FairFightAction:   

  • – Prohibits use of mobile voting, especially at nursing homes during a pandemic. 
  • – Requires one machine per 250 voters only in general elections, not all elections.  
  • – Banning the use of drop boxes on election day. 
  • – Requires counties to pay for having a 24/7 person be stationed at the drop box.  
  • – Slashes time counties can mail ballots from 49 days to 29. 
  • – Allows problematic precinct splitting that will confuse voters. 
  • – Bans giving and accepting water in long lines. 
  • – Creates a new misdemeanor for handling applications. 
  • – Requires voter identification on the outside of mail in ballots, making voters risk identity theft by providing a copy of driver’s license, date of birth, and last four digits of social security.  

This bill is now going to the Senate and if it passes, it will affect how everyone can vote in the future. The reason you should care is that if a state like Georgia, with one of the youngest population of voters, can turn these types of legislation into law and enforce them, then what will stop other states from following suit? 

Categories: Opinion

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