News Release

National and Georgia Criminal Defense Bars Condemn Georgia’s So-Called Election Integrity Act

Groups Call Out Brazen Use of Overcriminalization to Undermine Exercise of the Fundamental Constitutional Right to Vote, Strongly Urging Repeal.

Washington, DC (June 14, 2021) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (GACDL) released a joint statement condemning the Georgia Election Integrity Act of 2021 for criminalizing ordinary, mundane, and harmless activity.

As referenced in the joint statement, leading voices from across the ideological spectrum have often, and in various contexts, prioritized avoiding improper use of the criminal law to promote policy objectives to shape social, personal, economic, or political behavior. This misuse of the criminal law is most often referred to as overcriminalization.

"The United States must not join the league of corrupt and rogue nations where the criminalization of ordinary and harmless conduct associated with the exercise of the fundamental constitutional right to vote is used as an instrument to further the political fortunes of any candidate or political party," said NACDL President Christopher W. Adams. "That the phenomenon of overcriminalization, including the punishment of individuals with no criminal intent whatsoever, has reached the heart of American democracy – the ballot box – is truly alarming. Now is the time for all of the voices from right to left and everyone in between who have stood up against the scourge of overcriminalization to stand together with NACDL, GACDL, and others to demand the repeal of these utterly anti-democratic criminal laws."

"The Georgia Election Integrity Act of 2021 erodes the very social contract on which our society is constructed without increasing election security or integrity," said GACDL President Kimberly A. Dymecki. "Laws should never criminalize actions that reflect the best of humanity and care for society, as the Georgia Election Integrity Act does."

Among the activities criminalized by this new law are the following:

  • Handling a completed absentee ballot application (unless permitted by law); 
  • Opening a sealed absentee ballot envelope if not the voter or other authorized person;
  • Allowing a person to see a ballot being marked, even if at home and having done so voluntarily, subject to certain exceptions; 
  • Giving water or food to a voter waiting in line to vote; 
  • Intentionally observing another person casting a ballot, unless a child or providing authorized assistance; 
  • Photographing a voted ballot; and
  • Mailing or delivering to the board of registrars a person’s ballot if not a family or household member of that person.

Read the joint NACDL/GACDL statement

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Ivan Dominguez, NACDL Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications, (202) 465-7662 or

Amanda Clark Palmer, GACDL Media Chairperson, (202) 248-1777 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.

Since 1974, the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has promoted fairness and justice through membership education, services and support, public outreach, and a commitment to quality representation for all. GACDL is the nation’s largest statewide, member-funded criminal defense lawyer organization in the country which includes public and private criminal defense attorneys.