Georgia lieutenant Governor candidate wants to ban absentee ballot drop boxes

Georgia would abandon the use of absentee ballot drop boxes under legislation Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller pre-filed in the General Assembly Monday.

Drop boxes have been used before elections during the last two years to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But a controversial election reform bill the Republican-controlled legislature passed last March significantly limited the number of drop boxes cities and counties could deploy.

Now, Miller, a Republican from Gainesville, who is running for lieutenant governor, wants to eliminate absentee ballot drop boxes altogether.

“This is the next step in our fight to restore Georgians’ faith in our election systems,” Miller said Monday.

“Drop boxes were introduced as an emergency measure during the pandemic, but many counties did not follow the security guidelines in place, such as the requirement for camera surveillance on every drop box. Moving forward, we can return to a pre-pandemic normal of voting in person.”

Democrats, who opposed the election bill as a bid by majority Republicans to make it harder for Georgians to vote, criticized the drop box legislation as a politically motivated move by Miller to offset former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of state Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson, in next May’s Republican primary for lieutenant governor.

“[Miller is] trying to silence the voters of color who elected Democrats last cycle by banning one of the most popular ways they chose to cast their ballots,” said Scott Hogan, executive director of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

“No one who wants to suppress Georgia voters deserves to make our laws or help lead our state, and Georgia Democrats will not stop fighting to protect our elections from Republicans who clearly don’t believe in democracy.”

Republican Geoff Duncan, the current lieutenant governor, announced he would not seek reelection after refusing to take part in Trump’s attempts to overturn last year’s presidential election in Georgia.

Besides Miller and Jones, GOP activist Jeanne Seaver of Savannah is also running for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.

Democrats in the race include  Bryan Miller of Watkinsville, grandson of the late Gov. and U.S. Sen. Zell Miller, and three state representatives: Erick Allen of Smyrna, Derrick Jackson of Tyrone and Renitta Shannon of Decatur.