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Georgia House Dems Condemn Passage of HB 531: 'This Is A Step In The Wrong Direction'

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- Protesters outside the Georgia State Capitol on Monday spoke loudly against Election Integrity House Bill 531, which will limit early voting hours on weekends, require a form of ID to request an absentee ballot and limit the number of drop boxes.

"It will make Georgia elections fair, more accessible, more transparent," said Representative and Speaker Pro-Tempore Jan Jones (R-Dist. 47, Milton), one of the bill's sponsors.

The bill passed 97 to 72, with strong opposition from Democrats, who say the bill lacks integrity and will result in voter suppression.

"Georgia Republicans are lashing out after their back to back losses in the last election cycle and trying to turn the clock back on voting rights," said Representative Rhonda Burnough (D-Dist. 77, Riverdale). "This is a step in the wrong direction," said Representative Calvin Smyre (D-Dist. 135, Columbus).

Representative Demetrius Douglas (D-Dist. 78, Stockbridge), a former football player, says the bill creates a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. "If I'm playing in a game that the NCAA set the rules for, when I get beat in that game, I don't go after the season and try to change the rules of game," he said.

"Most of the opposition is more political than actually aimed at the contents of the bill," countered Jones.

Democrats say their fight is far from over, and they're urging voters to speak up. "There's going to be a direct action campaign against every person who voted for this bill," said House Minority Leader James Beverly (D-Dist. 143, Macon).

Beverly said those plans include lawsuits as well.

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