FACT CHECK: Does Georgia’s New Election Law Make It Illegal For A Grandchild To Drop Off A Grandparent’s Absentee Ballot?
An image shared on Facebook claims Georgia’s new election law makes it illegal for a grandchild to drop off his or her grandparent’s absentee ballot at a dropbox.
While the bill does say it is illegal for a person to deliver or return another person’s absentee ballot, the provision includes an exception that allows various relatives to do so. Georgia code allows family members such as parents, spouses, siblings, grandchildren and children to return absentee ballots on behalf of other relatives.
Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed SB 202, also known as the Election Integrity Act of 2021, into law on March 25. The bill includes provisions that expand early voting for primary and general elections, implement new ID requirements for absentee voting and regulate ballot drop boxes, among other measures, according to Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Social media users are now sharing an image that includes a screen grab of section 47 of the bill, along with text that claims, “Georgia’s new anti-voting law makes it a jail-time crime to drop off grandma’s absentee ballot in a dropbox.”
Section 47 of the bill does state anyone who “accepts an absentee ballot from an elector for delivery or return to the board of registrars except as authorized by subsection (a) of Code Section 21-2-385 shall be guilty of a felony.” However, when the Facebook post quotes the provision, it misleadingly leaves out the phrase where the bill mentions the Georgia code that provides a long list of people who may legally drop off ballots on their relatives’ behalf.
Georgia Code Section 21-2-385 states that after the absentee ballot envelope has been securely sealed, the voter “shall then personally mail or personally deliver same to the board of registrars or absentee ballot clerk, provided that mailing or delivery may be made by the elector’s mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, spouse, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, or an individual residing in the household of such elector.”
That provision of the Georgia code allows a grandchild to drop off his or her grandparent’s absentee ballot, which the Georgia Secretary of State’s office confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact. (RELATED: Does This Image Show Two Georgia State Senators Found Counting Ballots?)
Keith Williams, general counsel to Georgia State Speaker of the House David Ralston, confirmed that SB 202 allows a person to drop off their grandparent’s absentee ballot at a drop box, mail box or post office, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. The bill extends the ban on people who are not relatives or roommates from returning another person’s absentee ballot to drop boxes, the Georgia Secretary of State’s office said. A caregiver can deliver or mail a completed absentee ballot on behalf of a disabled voter, and a jail employee can do so for an inmate in their custody, Georgia code also states.
Charles Bullock, a University of Georgia political science professor, told Check Your Fact in a phone interview that the Facebook post is incorrect. (RELATED: Does This Video Show Ballots Being Destroyed In Georgia’s Cobb County?)
“It’s exactly the opposite,” Bullock said. “Georgia law specifically says that your grandchild can drop off your ballot, along with your brother-in-law, sister-in-law, your niece, nephew, etc.”
CNN reporter Daniel Dale also debunked the claim on Twitter Wednesday.
As @stphnfwlr said, this is false. The provision highlighted in this tweet is linked to a previous law (https://t.co/s6P2RFuuhA) that makes exceptions for ballot delivery by numerous family members, including grandchildren. https://t.co/GrJK6BgWAz
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) March 31, 2021
“As @stphnfwlr said, this is false,” Dale wrote. “The provision highlighted in this tweet is linked to a previous law (https://codes.findlaw.com/ga/title-21-elections/ga-code-sect-21-2-385.html) that makes exceptions for ballot delivery by numerous family members, including grandchildren.”