UPDATE: On April 27, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed Senate Bill 441 into law. The act took effect on July 1, 2022.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On April 4, the Georgia General Assembly passed Senate Bill 441, a bill that empowers the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to investigate election crimes. The provision was previously included in House Bill 1464 that contained numerous anti-voting measures, including restricting outside funding for elections offices. However, H.B. 1464 was gutted by a Senate committee last week, removing nearly 40 pages and the GBI provision. S.B. 441 then resurfaced on the last day of the 2022 legislative session and was passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate on party line votes. S.B. 441 now heads to the desk of Gov. Brian Kemp (R) for his signature.
A separate bill with next year’s proposed budget allocates $580,000 for four GBI positions focused on election complaints, which also passed on Monday. Voting rights groups are concerned that a stronger law enforcement presence around elections will harass or intimidate voters. “S.B. 441 would undermine our democracy by giving new sweeping powers for the Georgia Bureau of Investigations that effectively green light the intimidation of both voters and election officials,” wrote Fair Fight on Twitter.