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In Senate runoffs, organizers confront familiar challenge: Georgia's strict election rules

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the New Georgia Project
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SectionsTVFeaturedMore from NBC Follow NBC News For Georgia’s grassroots organizers, the feverish weeks between now and Jan. 5 aren’t just about getting eligible people excited to vote again.They’re about making sure those votes, cast in the state’s high-stakes Senate runoff elections, will count.Georgia’s election code “is designed to be as restrictive as possible,” said Nsé Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan group that aims to register and engage new voters. The resulting historic turnout helped push President-elect Joe Biden over the top by about 12,000 votes in the state, flipping Georgia blue for the first time since 1992.Now, with all eyes still on Georgia and party control of the U.S. Senate in the balance, voting rights advocates and organizers are working to keep that momentum going while highlighting the uphill battle they’ve fought against the parts of the state’s election code they say make it unnecessarily hard for some Georgians to cast a ballot.Adding to the political stakes, Georgia Republicans, echoing President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, have vowed even tighter voting restrictions in the new year, alarming voting rights advocates who say the state already has some of the strictest rules in the nation.Right now, Georgia pairs the kind of reforms that typically make voting easier — automatic voter registration, early voting and no-excuse mail voting — with stringent rules like aggressive voter purge policies and strict voter ID laws that often make it harder to cast a ballot, particularly for voters of color.That makes Georgia a “mixed bag” when it comes to access, said Wendy Weiser, a leading national voting rights expert and vice president of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law.Nineteen states have some kind of automatic voter registration, and 34 states have no-excuse absentee voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

As said here by Jane C. Timm