State of Democracy Spotlight Series: Georgia

How Georgia Compares to Other States on Voting and Election Policies

Georgia ranks 40th in the nation in our Democracy Tally for its voting, election, and democracy policies. The Democracy Maps currently track 45 laws and policies for each state, which inform this tally.

Election Security

Of the six policy areas we track, Georgia ranks highest in the category of election security. The state has in place five of the six policies we track in election security.

In-Person Voting and Mail Voting

Georgia ranks very poorly in the areas of in-person and mail voting access.

  • In the 2020 election, voters waited for long periods of time to vote. Georgia is one of the states with excessive wait times to vote, with a higher-than-average wait time than the rest of the country, according to the MIT Election Performance Index.
  • Georgia has an adequate early voting period, which allows voters 19 days in advance of the election to cast their vote.

Independence and Integrity of Elections

Georgia also ranks poorly in the category of election independence and integrity.

Georgia is the Center of Criminal Probes into Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election

Georgia is among a few states to have criminal probes into the 2020 election and efforts to overturn its results. Following the 2020 election, efforts were made by some Republicans to overturn the results and keep the former president in power. Georgia was at the center of these efforts, partly due to the close margin in the presidential race. Now multiple criminal investigations are focused on these efforts in the state.

  • The investigation is partly focused on a phone call the former president made to Georgia’s Secretary of State, where he asked the official to “find” the votes needed to declare him the winner. Senator Lindsay Graham and Rudy Giuliani are also targets of the probe.
  • The investigation also concerns a scheme by 16 Republican electors in the state who submitted a fake certificate of electors, which was sent to the federal government as part of a plan to subvert the Electoral College proceedings. If convicted, the targets of the investigation could face prison sentences.
  • The breaches involved efforts by lawyers connected to the former president to copy sensitive voting data and software. New surveillance footage has emerged showing the chair of the Coffee County Republican party letting the lawyers into the election office.
  • This same chairperson is also one of the 16 targets in the fake elector scheme discussed above. The footage also shows an individual entering the office who was involved in a similar scheme in Michigan. According to reports, all of the voting equipment, software and ballots in the election office were compromised.

Georgia Lawmakers Implemented Restrictions on Voting After Democratic Victories in 2020

Despite the very real tampering that occurred in Georgia by political operatives, the same political forces in the state have advanced false narratives of voter fraud. Like in Florida, following the 2020 election, lawmakers in Georgia used false justifications of voter fraud to implement restrictions on popular voting methods. These restrictions are likely to disproportionately limit the ability of Black voters to vote.

Like the most recent state in our spotlight series, Florida, Georgia is certain to be a focal point of the upcoming midterm election, with the governorship and a Senate seat up for grabs. After the state saw the 2020 presidential race decided by just over 12,000 votes, the restrictions put in place since then have the potential to significantly impact elections in Georgia. The passage of these restrictions, based on false narratives of voter fraud, decreases the health of our democracy in a time when it is most under threat.

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Democracy Maps

Democracy Maps

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Democracy Maps tracks more than 40 laws and policies on elections and voting. Project of Movement Advancement Project, an independent, nonprofit think tank.