ATLANTA - As predicted, election reform is front and center in Georgia’s legislative session.
A Republican freshman state senator introduced a bill Wednesday proposing Georgians submit copies of the photo ID twice throughout the process.
In the new proposal, Georgians would need to submit their ID when requesting an absentee ballot and when returning it.
Republican Sen. Jason Anavitarte's legislation comes after the pandemic brought on an unprecedented surge in mail-in voting, carrying the first Democratic presidential candidate across the Peach State’s finish line in nearly three decades.
State election officials have said unequivocally that there was no widespread fraud or irregularities in mail voting, despite relentless false claims by former President Donald Trump and his allies.
Still, that hasn't stopped some Republicans, including Gov. Brian Kemp, in supporting the concept for requiring some form of photo ID in absentee voting.
Top Republican officials in the state, including Georgia’s governor, lieutenant governor, and secretary of state, have endorsed the idea of requiring a photo ID for mail voting, though it’s unclear if they support the specific approach taken in Senate Bill 29.
Previously, House Speaker David Ralston addressed the topic saying he wanted elections to be open "but I want them to be fair and I want them to be secure."
"Here is my goal on absentee ballots," Ralston said. "I think the level of security should be just the same for an absentee ballot as it is for in-person voting."
Other, simpler ways of requiring photo ID have been floated — including requiring a driver’s license number on the absentee ballot request form — though no legislation has been introduced yet.
Wednesday's bill was immediately met by criticism.
Fair Fight, a voting rights group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, slammed the proposal and similar ideas, calling them "cynical power grabs."
"By requiring access to a printer, which many Georgians obviously do not have, Republicans are attempting to purposely take away the ability of many Georgians to vote by mail simply because they believe too many Democrats and too many people of color voted by mail," the group tweeted.
Fair Fight also noted that the proposal in its current form could raise concerns about identity theft.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.