ATLANTA (WJBF) – A day after dozens of voters protested outside the Georgia state capitol saying “Protect the vote” and “Say no to voter suppression,” Georgia Governor Brian Kemp weighs in on the voting restrictions bills.
On Monday, state law makers passed House Bill 531, which would have sweeping election changes in the state, and now heads to the senate floor.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp says voting reform is needed to restore public trust.
“A lot of Georgians have lost confidence. That shouldn’t be the case. We need to make sure that all Georgians, have faith in the process, Republicans or Democrats.”
A newly approved House Bill calls for limited weekend voting days, restricts the number of drop boxes and requires photo id’s for absentee ballots.
“I’ve come out very supportive of the photo id requirement on absentee ballots by mail, to make sure we have a secure process. Most Georgians support this, you do that in person anyway. People are upset that it took so long after the election to count all the votes. This will take away the confusion that was out there and folks not having confidence in the signature.”
State Democrats say these changes will affect voters of color, and called the bill a form of voter suppression.
“We talked about early voting locations that are being closed or consolidated, an overwhelming majority of those are African Americans, of people of color. African Americans voted higher on the weekends on 104/159 counties in comparison to their white counterparts,” says Rev. James Woodall, Georgia NAACP President.
But Republican lawmakers says these changes will help with election confidence and prevent voter fraud.
“Just making sure that we are further securing the process. I’ve always had the idea that it should be easy to vote but hard to cheat.”
Governor Brian Kemp served as Secretary of State for 9 years and managed the elections, and says voter fraud does exist in the state.
But despite numerous recounts in Georgia, the current Secretary of State and other audits showed no examples of any widespread voter fraud in the recent two elections.