Secretary of State Kemp Applauds Passage of Key Elections Legislation by the Georgia General Assembly
Atlanta – Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp today applauded the Georgia General Assembly’s passage of SB 92, the agency’s annual comprehensive elections legislation. The bill’s main sponsors are State Representatives Mark Hamilton and Buzz Brockway and State Senator Charlie Bethel. SB 92 now goes to Governor Nathan Deal for his signature.
SB 92 includes several noteworthy items, such as allowing the Secretary of State to develop a secure method to register to vote online, allowing independents the opportunity to qualify during partisan qualifying, allowing incumbents running as an independent to succeed his or herself without needing to collect petition signatures, moving up the date of the publishing of qualified write-in candidates and giving the governor more flexibility in calling for special elections for legislative seats. The bill also contains language to correct conflicting statutes and remove several unnecessary requirements or procedures.
Secretary Kemp stated, “I want to thank Representatives Hamilton and Brockway, Senator Bethel and the General Assembly for its passage of SB 92. Electronic voter registration in particular will expedite the registration process and provide increased security for applicants.”
Electronic voter registration is currently allowed in 11 other states, and does not replace any current form of registration. To qualify for electronic voter registration, applicants must have a Georgia driver’s license or identification card issued by the Department of Driver Services (DDS). Once the applicant submits their application, their information will be matched to the state’s Driver Services database.
Georgia’s counties will realize significant savings with electronic voter registration. A 2009 Arizona study found the cost of processing a paper application costs approximately 83 cents, while the cost per electronically-submitted application is 3 cents. Further, electronic voter registration will simplify the registration process for applicants, be more accurate by eliminating data entry errors and be more secure than a paper application, since only those who have presented themselves to DDS and provided the required information to acquire an identification card may utilize this registration method.
SB 92 was a compilation of numerous election related House bills, including HB 725 by Rep. Hamilton, HB 776 by Rep. Barbara Simms, HB 899 by Rep. Brockway and HB 939 by Rep. Ed Rynders.
HB 899 was the Secretary of State’s annual election bill, developed in conjunction with the Voter Registrars of Georgia and the Georgia Election Officials Association. Additionally, a portion of the bill’s provisions, including electronic voter registration, are based on the unanimous recommendations to the Georgia General Assembly by the Secretary of State’s Elections Advisory Council (EAC). Secretary Kemp formed the EAC to review the Georgia Election Code, State Election Board Rules and all election processes and make recommendations that improve and strengthen Georgia’s election laws and procedures. The EAC Final Report and Recommendations can be found on the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.ga.gov/GAEAC.
Brian Kemp has been Secretary of State since January, 2010. Among the office’s wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives.