Majority Caucus Vice Chair Sen. Larry Walker (R-Perry) sponsored the bill and said it would improve security and efficiency of the absentee process.
“It’s not about disenfranchising voters, it’s not about overly burdening the electorate,” he said. “It is about efficiency and security and election integrity and allowing the Georgia public to have confidence in the vote.”
But Sen. David Lucas (D-Macon) gave an emotional speech in opposition to the proposal, calling it “malarkey” and warning that the measure would be costly because of inevitable court challenges.
“You’re going to spend taxpayer money trying to defend it,” he said. “I will not go back home and tell those who vote that I took away the right for you to vote.”
The bill now goes to the Georgia House of Representatives, where the Special Committee on Election Integrity voted Wednesday to approve HB 531, which contains a number of election reform measures, including the requirement of photo ID for absentee ballot applications.