Chatham County Democrats oppose GOP bills that would limit no-excuse absentee voting

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Several GOP-sponsored election bills at the Georgia State House are facing criticism from local Democrats. The Chatham County Democratic Party says it’s a push for some of the most restrictive voting laws in the country.

“If you eliminate opportunities, you eliminate votes,” Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said.

Chatham County Democratic officials gathered Friday at the Board of Elections to oppose the passage of two bills currently under consideration. House Bill 531 has already passed the House with GOP support and Senate Bill 241 is still waiting to be voted on.

“If you didn’t have anything wrong with the voting process, you showed that more people showed up to the polls, why are you changing anything narrative-wise?” Chair of the Chatham County Democratic Committee, Jay Jones said.

Jones said these bills would limit absentee ballot drop boxes, weekend voting and require an ID to vote absentee. The Democratic Party said this legislation could threaten millions of Georgians ability to vote.

“If you’re a registered voter you should be able to vote and there should be no restrictions at all. And so my thing is when you put restrictions out there you’re tripping people up from being able to vote,” Jones said.

“The fact of the matter is we know this works and so if we know it’s taken away, we know it has a dramatic effect on how these elections turn out,” Johnson said.

Mayor Johnson is a member of the Georgia Democratic National Committee. He’s standing with Chatham County Democrats who say they’re working to fight against what they call voter suppression.

“We’re [The GOP is] trying to find ways to change the rules because we didn’t like the results and certainly that’s not what Georgia is all about,” Johnson said.

So Mayor Johnson said don’t fix something that’s not broke.

“This is about 2022 and I don’t care what kind of laws or regulations they try to put out there. We are going to do everything we can to change this government structure,” Jones said.

Local Democrats said all of these barriers could turn voters away from the polls and added that they intend to safeguard democracy by looking ahead to the 2022 elections.

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