OP-ED: New State Voter Restrictions Need To Go

New Legislations Passed by Southern States Appear to Undermine Democratic Voters


via Prashaan Malwana

New measures passed by many Republican states look to limit the ability of voters to easily vote.

Prashaan Malwana, Staff Reporter, Freshman

On March 31, Georgia introduced several bills which contained various aspects of voting restriction. Signed by Republican governor Brian Kemp, many civil rights groups have fired back, as has president Joe Biden, calling the laws, “Jim Crow in the 21st century”. Although more exaggerated than needed, the laws inhibit voter accessibility and productivity, objectively making it harder to vote. Titans of industry, like Coca-Cola and Delta, people of color, and seemingly most of the media, are also denouncing the laws in an attempt to repeal the legislation.  

First of all, dropboxes in Georgian counties are now limited further, where each county can only have one dropbox per 100,000 registered voters or early voting site. Boxes are now only available during early voting periods as opposed to the usual 24-hour phase. The state legislature is also able to appoint a non-partisan five-member board that has the power to deem election officials as doing their job incorrectly or flawed and replace them with one superintendent of their choice. Absentee voting periods have also been significantly shortened, where absentee ballots are sent 29 days before the election as opposed to the regular 49, and voters can request a ballot 78 days before the election compared to the regular 180. A positive change, however – whichever way one looks at it – is the requirement for more identification rather than only requiring a signature. Now, voters must provide their driver’s license, state identification card, last four digits of their Social Security Number, or some other form of identification, in order to prevent voter fraud.

Overall, these sets of new voting laws harm people of color and poor voters, rather than helping them. The bills do have some positive outcomes such as having a minimum amount of dropboxes, yet these laws were passed in light of Georgia swinging to the Democratic side in the 2020 presidential election, hinting at an attempt to undermine Democratic voters. Major League Baseball is even moving its All-Star Game from Atlanta as a response to the law, and many other corporations including Delta, which is a large employer of Georgia’s, publicly opposed the laws. Unfortunately, states like Texas are continuing to pass bills that restrict mail-in voting, early voting, and more, even as more companies like American Airlines and Dell oppose them. 

Although not clearly voter suppression, the intent of these laws is direct and restricts the voting process. Democrats are promising to not go down without a fight, yet if more bills like these continue to be passed, the integrity of elections will not be able to be maintained.