For Immediate Release
May 30, 2007
Director of Communications
Elections Legislation Signed Into Law
Absentee ballot fraud will be a felony in upcoming elections
ATLANTA- Governor Sonny Perdue signed two significant election bills into law Wednesday afternoon.
Senate Bill 40, sponsored by Senator Cecil Staton (R-18), increases the penalty for absentee ballot fraud and ensures that all elections fraud can be prosecuted as a felony.
“Senate Bill 40 sends a clear message that Georgia is serious about the integrity of our elections and those who commit fraud will face serious consequences,” Secretary of State Karen Handel said. “I also want to commend Governor Perdue for signing the bill and thank Senator Staton and members of the House and Senate for supporting this important legislation.”
The bill was unanimously passed out of the Senate and received very strong support in the House (107 to 46).
Senate Bill 194, also sponsored by Senator Staton, gives much needed relief to local elections officials by allowing the county election superintendents to begin the tabulation of absentee ballots when the polls open to the close of the polls on the day of a primary, election, or runoff. This bill also changes the date of the Presidential Preference Primary to the first Tuesday in February, beginning February 5, 2008.
“Counties will now have the ability to begin counting those ballots as early as 7:00 a.m.,” explained Secretary Handel. “This flexibility will assist in the efficient tally of those ballots and will help avoid delays.”
According to the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Georgia, along with 23 other states has made this momentous change to create what has been dubbed “Super Duper Tuesday.” This bill passed unanimously out of the Senate and was virtually unopposed (160 – 2) in the House.
Secretary Handel made election reform a central theme of her administration. The measures in these two important bills address some of the key components in Secretary Handel’s vision to make Georgia a national leader for open, honest and efficient elections.