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ACLU threatens to sue Georgia over election bill conservatives praise as 'commonsense' reform. Alabama and Pennsylvania Pushing Back Too!

Updated: May 7

The Georgia legislature passed new election ballot reforms that could have a big impact in the 2024 election in the key battleground state, should Gov. Brian Kemp sign the bill into law.

The Georgia state legislature passed GOP-backed Senate Bill 189 last week, which now awaits Kemp’s signature or veto.

The bill would grant access to Georgia’s ballot to any political party that has qualified for the presidential ballot in at least 20 states — a change that could boost independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and potentially draw votes away from President Biden.

The bill also makes ballots, once certified, immediately available as public record in an effort to increase the scope of poll watchers on Election Day. It also makes audits of voter rolls easier, to ensure deceased residents or those who have moved out of state are no longer eligible to vote.

Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.

Hans von Spakovsky, an election law expert and former member of the Federal Election Commission, said the Georgia legislature, through measures like Senate Bill 189, is trying to address several administration problems highlighted in the 2020 election.

"The Georgia legislature has been trying to correct the vulnerabilities that allowed some of those administrative problems to creep in," von Spakovsky told Fox News Digital in an interview.

Von Spakovsky, who also served on the Board of Advisors of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and on the Fulton County Board of Registrations and Elections, praised the measure as an effort to make future elections "as transparent as possible."

Georgia's Senate Bill 189 will make ballots, upon certification, public record in an effort to increase the scope of poll watchers.

Andrea Young, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Georgia, has said the legislation violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), and threatened to sue if it becomes law.

Among other things, the NVRA, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, bans states from removing registered voters from voter rolls unless certain criteria are met.

"The majority in the Georgia General Assembly persists in passing laws that will undermine our democracy," Young told local news station FOX 5. "This is a recipe for election chaos, and we strongly urge the governor to veto it."

But von Spakovsky said he doesn’t see anything in the state’s measure that would violate the NVRA, and says that similar legal challenges in other states have failed. He also noted that claims by President Biden two years ago that other Georgia election reforms — like requiring ID for absentee ballots — were a mechanism to suppress minority voters and amounted to "Jim Crow 2.0" have proven to be false. Von Spakovsky noted that a survey conducted by the University of Georgia found that precisely 0% of Black respondents said that they had a "poor" experience voting in 2022, compared to 0.9% of White voters.

split image of Trump, Biden

"I have a lot more confidence that we're going to have a good election this year than I did in 2020," von Spakovsky said.

Janae Stracke, vice president of outreach at the conservative group Heritage Action, said that lawmakers in Georgia "deserve a lot of praise for their work to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat through commonsense proposals that are often supported by a bipartisan majority of Americans."

"Free and fair elections are the bedrock of our republic, and everyone deserves to know their vote will be counted accurately this November," she said.

The ACLU did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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