How Georgia’s new voting law affects the Senate runoff

The new election law which took effect last year creates one large change in the upcoming Senate runoff election between Raphael Warnock and Hershel Walker: the election will take place much sooner. Senate Bill 202, signed into law by Republican Governor Brian Kemp, cuts the time between the general election and runoff election in half. This will be a large change for Georgia’s voters, who now have a shorter period to request, receive, and cast their ballots. The law also shortens the early voting period which was a minimum of 16 days in 2020, but is now a minimum of only five days in 2022. Those in favor of the new election law in Georgia claim that the 2020 runoff election is an example of why this law is necessary; one of the laws authors emphasized the effect of the 2020 runoff election saying, “the lengthy nine-week runoffs in 2020 were exhausting for candidates, donors, and 120 electors.” However, many voting rights advocates feel the new law will impede the voters of Georgia from casting their ballots. Danielle Lang, the senior director of a nonpartisan voting rights group, claims, “The big takeaway here is that the compressing of the timeline for a runoff has spillover effects on access for voters.” The new law will make it more challenging for new voters to register and provide less time for all citizens to request, receive, and cast an absentee ballot.

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