GOP Georgia lieutenant governor boycotts elections bill debate

The second-highest ranking Republican in Georgia refused to preside over a session of the state Senate on Monday as lawmakers considered a bill that would sharply restrict absentee ballot voting.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) left the Senate chamber Monday afternoon as senators began considering a bill that would restrict absentee ballot voting to Georgians 65 and older, those who have a disability or those who will be out of town during the election.

In a statement to the newspaper, Duncan confirmed his opposition to both the bill and his own presiding over the chamber as it was debated. Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller (R) presided over the chamber in his stead, the AJC reported. The Hill has reached out to Duncan's office for comment.

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A photo of Duncan posted by an AJC reporter during the debate showed him watching the events from his office.

At least two Georgia state Senate Republicans who opposed the GOP-led effort to restrict absentee ballots, seen as a response from Republicans to Georgia's two Senate seats and presidential Electoral College votes flipping it to Democrat, were also not in the chamber for Monday's session, according to the newspaper.

Republicans in the state have sought to respond to their losses in both November's election and January's two U.S. Senate seat runoffs with a slew of bills aimed at imposing new restrictions on absentee voting in the state. A bill passed the state Senate last month imposing ID requirements to vote absentee.

Data from the Brennan Center published in February found that more than 250 bills aimed at restricting voting access are active in some form in state legislatures in 43 states as of last month.