Starting the Conversation on
Voting Rights

Voting in America is the most basic democratic right. It’s probably safe to say that most people would agree that citizens of a requisite age should be given every opportunity to vote for their elected representatives. It’s also probably safe to say that the voting process should be free of fraud or any illegal activity that would jeopardize the outcome of a free and fair election.

Article 1 Section 4 of the Constitution says it is up to the state legislatures to determine their voting and election laws. State legislatures change voting laws all the time and it mostly goes unnoticed.

Georgia recently passed SB 202 and was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp. Because of the spotlight on Georgia following the general election, the changes made in the 96-page bill garnered a lot of media coverage and high level of interest from people around the country. Backers of the law say it makes voting more secure while sacrificing little convenience. Those opposing the bill say it is a big step in the wrong direction – particularly hard hitting for African Americans.

So Here’s the Question

At your next gathering or in a group chat, use these questions to spark a discussion:

  • The constitution says that every state is responsible for voting rules and regulations - is that good or bad?
  • Should the voting process be a national program? Why?
  • Should Election Day be a federal holiday? Why?
  • Would you support a bi-partisan commission to investigate voter fraud during the 2020 elections?
  • Is it good or bad for private businesses to take sides on legislation like SB 202?
  • Should in-person voting change forever as a result of COVID-19?
  • Is it better to vote by mail or in-person? Why?

Something to Consider

Here’s a quick rundown of how Georgia’s voting laws compare to other states:

  • Georgia used to allow voters to apply for an absentee ballot seven days before an election – now it is one of 11 states requiring voters to request a ballot 11 days before the election.
  • Along with Ohio, Minnesota and Kansas, Georgia now requires voters to submit a drivers license or other ID number to verify the identity of the voter on their absentee ballot.
  • All states allow voters to return absentee ballots by mail and most allow them to drop off ballots at local elections offices. SB 202 calls for at least one drop box per county (1 per 100K voters), but now must be located inside the clerk’s office or voting location and are only accessible during early voting hours and are closed when the early voting period ends.

Share With the Community

Find us on social media and make your voice heard in the fight for democracy. Use #DemocracyChats and #JuntoClub to share what you’re learning from your pro-democracy conversations and what questions are sparking the best discussions in your circles.