GA GA lawmakers on Monday voted overwhelmingly to pass legislation that would extend the voting rights of some Georgia residents, a measure that would have a wide range of impacts for millions of Georgians.
The vote by the Georgia House of Representatives came as Republican lawmakers pushed a bill to allow localities to waive the requirement for voting at the polls in some areas.
The measure would give localities more flexibility in how they enforce the voting law, which requires voters to show photo ID to cast a ballot.
The bill passed by a vote of 36 to 22 on Monday, with two Democrats voting against it.
The Republican-led House voted 217 to 192 to allow states such as Georgia to waive requirements for photo identification, a move that was expected given the partisan divide in the state over voting rights.
“The bill would be a significant step forward for our democracy,” Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said in a statement.
“Georgia is home to more than 1.3 million Georgians, and I applaud its passage for the first time in decades.”
The bill was introduced by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Georgia native and the chairman of the House GOP conference.
The legislation, however, is still far from final, as some House Democrats are still weighing how they will vote on it, and a few Republicans, including Rep. Joe Barton, are against it as well.
“I think there is still much more work to do,” said Rep. James Turner, a Republican from South Carolina.
“This bill is not perfect, but it is the most comprehensive voter ID bill in the country.”
Georgia has one of the lowest voter participation rates in the nation, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice, and as a result of this legislation, millions of eligible Georgians would have to show a photo ID.
The Brennan Center also noted that, with the exception of the first half of this year, Georgia has the lowest percentage of registered voters with photo IDs in the entire country.
That’s largely because of the state’s restrictive voting laws, which have allowed some voters to vote without showing a photo identification card.
The House voted in March to extend the current law, but the legislation had to clear both chambers of the Georgia General Assembly to become law.
Georgia has had strict photo ID requirements since the mid-1990s.
Under the law, those without a driver’s license are required to show an ID card that shows their name, date of birth, and Social Security number.
Georgia also requires voters who cannot afford to pay their fees to show their Social Security card when they register to vote.
The state also requires photo IDs for voting by mail.
The voting law was enacted after the Georgia Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, which required certain states with history of discrimination to improve their voting laws to ensure the voting process was fair.
Georgia’s law passed with strong bipartisan support in 2013.
The law also provides a wide array of other protections, including ensuring that any law requiring photo ID for voting does not disenfranchise voters.
It also requires that voter registration cards be mailed to voters who do not have one, requiring proof of residency in the affected county, and allowing voting by provisional ballot, which is a ballot that is never counted because the voter did not show up at the polling place.
The new legislation, which would make it harder for Georgians to vote, is expected to pass both chambers in the coming weeks.
Georgia is one of a handful of states that has expanded voter ID laws in recent years, including Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
Some of these laws have been struck down by the courts and others have been repealed or weakened.