All citizens in Hall County should be very concerned about some of the changes being suggested in SB 241 and HB 531. No money has been allocated for the additional cost these two bills will require that are being passed on to each county Board of Elections. Some of my concerns are:
Beginning January 2022 the warranty on the new voting machines purchased by our Secretary of State will need to come out of county funds. That cost for Hall County could be over $30,000 per year.
Requiring a voter ID for absentee ballots will require updating the current software. Who is paying for that? The cost statewide is estimated to be $1,300,000.
Currently the DDS provides a free Georgia ID. If more people need these for absentee voting, will DDS have to begin charging to cover the extra demand or are our legislators willing to cover the cost?
If absentee ballots are limited, that means more people will need to vote early or on Election Day. However, early voting days are being reduced, which means more poll workers will be needed in each county. That is a budget item for the counties, not the state.
I see all these items as unfunded mandates that the counties may be required to absorb. We have limited funds so what will our commissioners have to cut to offset the impact our senator and representative are passing? Will we have less library funds again? Less funding for our senior centers? More pot holes in our local roads?
I hope everyone including the county commissioners will pay attention to the impact of SB 241 and HB 531 on our county and let our representatives know what you think.
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