A voter integrity bill meant to provide more oversight on Election Day passed the Georgia House of Representatives just hours before its Tuesday Crossover Day deadline.
HB 1464 gives the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) jurisdiction to investigate election fraud without invitation from the Georgia Secretary of State, who oversees elections.
It also restricts nonprofit funding of elections after Facebook founder and multi-billionaire Mark Zuckerberg gave $420 million in grants to nonprofits during the 2020 election cycle, who then used that money for partisan political purposes that mostly favored Democrats.
The bill also implements stricter laws regarding chain-of-custody procedures for absentee ballots. The Georgia Star News has reported at great length about the thousands of chain-of-custody documents for those ballots that are still outstanding, even 17 months after the 2020 election.
The Crossover Day passage was an important win for the bill, which will now move to the Georgia Senate for consideration. Every 28 days, bills that have not passed one chamber of the Georgia General Assembly are considered dead for that legislative session.
The bill passed the Republican dominated House 98-73 along party lines.
Republicans, including its primary sponsor, State Representative James Burchett (R-Waycross), intimated that the added government oversight will make election results more trustworthy.
“If we can’t trust the highest law enforcement in the state, who can we trust?” he reportedly said.
But Democrats do not see it that way.
As The Star reported this week, two nonprofits linked to gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams plan to spend more than a million dollars combating HB 1464.
Neither group returned a comment request about the House passage of the legislation.
The new legislation builds on last year’s SB 202, which became law much to the chagrin of Democrats.
The latter law limits the use of absentee ballot drop boxes, requires stricter vote identification for absentee ballots, and shortens the time during which Georgians can vote before Election Day.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].