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Elections Briefing, Feb. 22, 2021: Georgia Voting, Niger, Israel

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Elections Briefing 2-22-21

The Elections Briefing takes Electionarium around the world every day. It’s a good situation for everyone.

What changes is the state of Georgia going to make to its voting procedures? Where have elections been held around the world, specifically in Africa? What are some of the big elections on the horizon? If you read the title, you know some of these things already.

Georgia Legislature Considering Absentee and Early Vote Changes

Last week, the Republican majority in the Georgia House of Representatives filed a bill which would make large-scale changes to election procedures in the state. As one may recall, Georgia is among the states that the former president, Donald Trump, claimed were “stolen” from him. The GOP then went on to lose a pair of Senate runoffs in January. No doubt the timing of the legislation and the scope of it are directly related to what has happened in the last few months.

NPR/Georgia Public Broadcasting broke down the vast array of changes, which include requiring all counties to have the same early voting hours and period, a photo identification requirement, slimming the absentee ballot request timeline, and a more limited deployment of early voting drop boxes. It also includes proposals to boost the number of elections workers at polling stations.

On most of the preceding, Democrats are up in arms about the legislation, claiming this will disenfranchise or make it more difficult for minority communities to vote.

The GOP has a 103 to 76 majority in the House and a 34 to 22 majority in the Georgia State Senate. If they want this bill to get through, it will. It then lands on Brian Kemp’s desk, the same governor who earned Trump’s fiery ire following the 2020 election and who was himself chastised with accusations of voter suppression during his 2018 run.

Nigerien Election Ends in Tragedy

The landlocked African nation of Niger voted in the second round of its presidential election on Sunday. Advancing to the runoff were Mohamed Bazoum, candidate of the ruling Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) and former president Mahamane Ousmane of the opposition Democratic and Republican Renewal (RDR).

The winner will succeed Mahamadou Issoufou, the ten-year incumbent president who first won office following a military coup.

Sadly, seven poll workers were lost when an election commission vehicle struck a landmine.

Israeli Election Entering Final Month

The fourth election campaign in Israel in the last two years has only about a month left to go. There were two inconclusive elections while the third was more conclusive but the coalition collapsed, which is why Israel heads back to the polls in 2021.

One major change this time is that Benny Gantz is not the primary opposition leader to Benjamin Netanyahu this time. The Blue and White alliance which held Netanyahu’s Likud Party to three close races in a row broke apart in 2020. The main rivals to Likud are now Yesh Atid, led by Yair Lapid.

In Israeli politics, the name of the game is never getting an outright majority, as it has never been done. It’s making sure your party gets the most seats, so your leader becomes prime minister, and also making sure like-minded parties win enough seats to help you stack up a majority coalition. Current polling shows Netanyahu may get there, but it’s close – what else is new.

Election Countdown

18 days until the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial election (rescheduled).
19 days until the Western Australia state election.
29 days until the 2021 Israeli election.

Today’s Election Calendar

There are no notable elections scheduled for today.

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