Emma Hurt

Three weeks after it was signed into law, local election officials in Georgia are still trying to understand all the implications of the state's controversial election overhaul.

In a series of interviews, election officials said that while the Republican-led measure has some good provisions, many felt sidelined as the legislation was being debated, and believe that parts of it will make Georgia elections more difficult and expensive.

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Georgia voters will have to follow new election rules. State Republicans there passed a sweeping elections bill that limits mail-in voting and changes absentee and early voting. Governor Brian Kemp signed the legislation into law last night.

Georgia Republicans have seen their fortunes change quickly.

Their recent losses in presidential and U.S. Senate contests have revealed some problems: First, robust Democratic organizing in the state has engaged younger and more diverse voters at a large scale. And more recently, false claims of widespread voter fraud by some Republican leaders have sown doubt among many of the party's voters about the system's trustworthiness.

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It's been about a month since Democrats flipped Georgia's two Senate seats in high-profile January runoffs, sending Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to Washington, D.C., and handing the party narrow control of the chamber.

One key to the stunning upsets were the roughly 225,000 new voters who didn't vote in November but turned out in January, a disproportionate number of whom were people of color.

"That's just the math," said Bernard Fraga, a political scientist at Emory University who has studied the turnout data.

The Georgia Senate runoffs were the first test of outgoing President Donald Trump's ability to bring his most fervent supporters to the polls without his name on the ballot. And after Republicans lost the seats and their U.S. Senate majority, in Georgia Republican circles, much of the blame has centered on the former president.