Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams addresses supporters during an election night watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Atlanta. | John Amis/AP Photo
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Georgia has advanced a voting bill to give election-related issues to the state Bureau of Investigations. Previously, Georgia election officials policed elections. 

The new Georgia voting bill, which was 40 pages long, passed the Georgia House on Tuesday night. Georgia currently has a Republican majority in its legislature.

In the new bill, election officials would have the power to subpoena election records for accuracy. Additionally, paper ballots would be public record. 

The Georgia state Bureau of Investigations would have the opportunity to investigate allegations of fraud as well.

President Donald Trump has long-claimed that Georgia, a battleground state in 2020, was part of a conspiracy of fraudulent votes. In fact, the new measure comes on the heels of Republican calls to investigate fraud following the 2020 election. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden won the 2020 election decisively, by over 7 million votes.

Georgia advances voting bill to police elections after Trump's big lie
Protesters call on Georgia lawmakers to reject further changes to state voting laws on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 outside the state Capitol in Atlanta. (Jeff Amy, Staff-AP)

Advocates say Georgia voting bill will have chilling effect on voter turnout

Georgia’s voting rights advocates decried the bill as creating barriers to vote for Georgia citizens. The measure will impact Black voters, who may be more hesitant to vote under such scrutiny.

Georgia voters in majority-Black cities recently gave Democrats an edge in state and national elections. Much of this is due to the work done by Stacy Abrams and her cohort of voting-rights activists. 

According to Stephanie Ali, policy director for the New Georgia Project Action Fund, a voting rights group, the Georgia voting bill is aimed specifically at Black voters. “It’s just finding a new way to stop people from voting in the same way that has always been done in this country.”

In fact, Abrams and her colleagues raised funds to fight the bill. Fair Fight Action, a voting rights group, announced over $1.5 million in battling the bill. 

The Georgia voting bill follows on the heels of Florida, which recently passed similar legislation. If passed, the Georgia bill will go into effect in July, months before mid-term elections in November.

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...