State Representative Beth Moore (D-Peachtree Corners) recently introduced House Bill 1096, legislation that would allow county governments to oversee the use of ballot drop boxes in certain elections. If passed and signed into law, HB 1096 would override the ballot drop box requirements implemented by Senate Bill 202.
“Georgia counties acted responsibly in 2020 by investing in safe, secure and monitored ballot drop boxes,” said Rep. Moore. “Voters enjoyed the convenience of drop boxes with 24/7 access, and these drop boxes also eliminated the stress of wondering if a ballot will get lost in the mail or not. Unfortunately, Senate Bill 202 forced the unnecessary removal of the ballot drop box conveniently located at the Peachtree Corners Library in my district. I’d like to see that drop box reinstated. I also believe counties are better equipped than the state to decide where and how many drop boxes to deploy in the community.”
With this legislation, Rep. Moore seeks to mirror the state’s election protocols that were introduced during the governor’s COVID-19 public health emergency in 2020. HB 1096 would require each county to establish one or more drop box locations within the county as a means for absentee-by-mail electors to deliver their ballots. These drop boxes would only be allowed on government property. Ballot drop boxes would also be required to have adequate lighting, video surveillance and be made of durable material to withstand vandalism and inclement weather. The ballot drop boxes must also be immovable and clearly labeled. Additionally, ballot drop boxes would be required to be available 49 days prior to any primary or general election with the exception of municipal elections. They would close at 7 p.m. on the day of the election. For a state-wide or federal special election or runoff election, drop box locations would be allowed to be opened on the first day of advanced voting.
Rep. Moore says she aims to ensure that every citizen in the state of Georgia has a secure, accessible location to cast their mail-in ballot while maintaining direct chain-of-custody between the voter and the county elections office.
“This bill would help ensure that every citizen in the state of Georgia has a secure, accessible location to cast their mail-in ballot, while maintaining direct chain-of-custody between the voter and the county elections office,” added Rep. Moore. “Such access is crucial for those who are unable to vote in person due to physical disabilities, medical conditions, military service, late-night work shifts, being away at college, lacking child care or adult care, among many other reasons. I will always work to increase voter participation and make voting as easily accessible as possible. That’s exactly what HB 1096 would do.”
This legislation is co-sponsored by House Minority Leader James Beverly (D-Macon), State Reps. Donna McLeod (D- Lawrenceville), Shelly Hutchinson (D-Snellville), Kim Alexander (D-Hiram) and Bee Nguyen (D-Atlanta).
First Reader Summary for HB 1096: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 2 of Title 21 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to primaries and elections generally, so as to provide for drop boxes for use in returning absentee ballots; to provide for locations; to provide for requirements and operation; to provide for ballot collection; to provide for related matters; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.hb 1096 moore 02252022
For more information on HB 1096, click here.
Representative Beth Moore serves Georgia’s House District 95, which includes the cities of Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Norcross, Duluth, and Johns Creek across Gwinnett and Fulton Counties. She was first elected to the House Representatives in 2018 and serves on the committees for Energy Utilities & Telecommunication, Banks & Banking, Science & Technology, and Information & Audits committees.