Jimmy Carter is ‘disheartened, saddened and angry’ by the G.O.P. push to curb voting rights in Georgia.A Georgia bill that would restrict ballot access is part of a nationwide effort by Republicans.By Nick Corasaniti and Glenn Thrush

Former President Jimmy Carter — a one-term Georgia governor who first ran for office in the 1960s — said efforts by Republicans in the state to restrict ballot access represented an attempt to “turn back the clock” on hard-won progress in empowering disenfranchised voters.

“I am disheartened, saddened and angry,” Mr. Carter wrote in a statement released by his charitable foundation on Tuesday, a day after the Republican-controlled State Senate approved a bill repealing no-excuse absentee voting.

“American democracy means every eligible person has the right to vote in an election that is fair, open and secure,” Mr. Carter, 96, wrote.

“We must not lose the progress we have made. We must not promote confidence among one segment of the electorate by restricting the participation of others. Our goal always should be to increase, not decrease, voter participation.”

Mr. Carter said he was particularly upset that Republicans in the state repeatedly invoked a 2005 report he prepared with former Secretary of State James Baker, which recommended the use of identification checks to avert fraud.

Mr. Carter now says that “new technologies” have made the use of absentee ballots much safer.

“In the 16 years since the report’s release, vote-by-mail practices have progressed significantly,” he added. “In light of these advances, I believe that voting by mail can be conducted in a manner that ensures election integrity.”

The Georgia bill is part of a nationwide effort by Republicans in red or swing states to clamp down on the expansion of ballot access championed by Democrats and civil rights groups after the 2020 presidential election. (President Biden narrowly won Georgia, as did the two Democratic Senate candidates in January.)

At almost the same time that the Georgia Senate was passing its legislation on Monday, the governor of Iowa was signing new voting restrictions into law.

But the Georgia bill’s passage is by no means assured.

After hours of intense and occasionally emotional debate on Monday, multiple Republican senators abstained from voting. The Senate bill passed just one vote above the required 28-vote majority threshold.

The bill will now go to the State House of Representatives, which is also led by Republicans. Last week, the House passed its own omnibus bill of voting restrictions that included similar barriers to the ballot box, including limiting early voting times.

Though each chamber passed its own bill, some legislators in Georgia view the House legislation as the likely central vehicle for voting overhauls in the state.

Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, has indicated that he generally supports “securing the vote,” but has not weighed in on many of the specific provisions in either bill.

Mr. Carter now says that “new technologies” have made the use of absentee ballots much safer.

“In the 16 years since the report’s release, vote-by-mail practices have progressed significantly,” he added. “In light of these advances, I believe that voting by mail can be conducted in a manner that ensures election integrity.”

The Georgia bill is part of a nationwide effort by Republicans in red or swing states to clamp down on the expansion of ballot access championed by Democrats and civil rights groups after the 2020 presidential election. (President Biden narrowly won Georgia, as did the two Democratic Senate candidates in January.)

At almost the same time that the Georgia Senate was passing its legislation on Monday, the governor of Iowa was signing new voting restrictions into law.

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