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Jimmy Carter blasts restrictive voting bills in Georgia

Jimmy Carter blasts restrictive voting bills in Georgia
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Former President Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterWeird photo of Carters with Bidens creates major online buzz Feehery: Biden seems intent on repeating the same mistakes of Jimmy Carter Never underestimate Joe Biden MORE (D) on Tuesday said he's "disheartened, saddened and angry" that Georgia Republican state lawmakers are trying "to turn back the clock through legislation that will restrict access to voting."

Carter expressed regret that an election reform study he co-authored 16 years ago had been “selectively referenced” amid a GOP push for a sweeping new set of voting restrictions in Georgia.

The criticism by Carter, the 39th president and a Georgia native, comes as the state’s Republican-held legislature considers a number of election-related measures, including a proposal to limit eligibility for mail-in voting.

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“The proposed changes appear to be rooted in partisan interests, not in the interests of all Georgia voters,” Carter said in a statement. “I also am disappointed that advocates for these restrictive changes have repeatedly and selectively referenced a report prepared by a 2005 commission that I co-chaired with former Secretary of State James Baker.”

The former president and the Atlanta-based Carter Center have issued several similar statements over the past year that sought to clarify some of the commission report’s findings as Republicans have increasingly pointed to the study to justify a tightening of voting procedures.

One of the main recommendations by the 2005 group was that voting-by-mail should be studied more closely to weigh its pros and cons, including its potential risk of making elections more vulnerable to fraud.

But in his Tuesday statement, Carter said he now feels more confident in mail voting than he did at the time of the commission, given how the practice has evolved over the past 16 years.

“In light of these advances, I believe that voting by mail can be conducted in a manner that ensures election integrity,” Carter said. “This is just one of several ways to expand access to the voting process for voters across the state, regardless of political affiliation.”