People For the American Way: Georgia’s Toxic Voter Suppression Bill
Washington, D.C. – Following the introduction in the Georgia legislature of HB 531, a package of voter suppression measures aimed squarely at Black and brown voters in the state, People For the American Way President Ben Jealous and Rev. Timothy McDonald, senior pastor at the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta and Co-Chair of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action, released the following statements:
“In the rush to silence millions of Georgia voters, whose historic rejection of right-wing politicians resonated nationally in the last election, far-right forces in the Georgia legislature have dropped this stink bomb of a voter suppression bill. This toxic package is aimed directly at Black voters in the most blatant ways imaginable. It targets alternative voting options, like mobile polls and early voting, that people in less-flexible jobs — often, Black voters — need most. It limits the use of absentee ballots. With this one bill, extremists in the Georgia legislature are proving what has been widely reported: the right knows it can’t win on ideas, so its only option is to stop more people from voting. Genuine public servants in the Georgia legislature need to stop this bill in its tracks,” said Ben Jealous.
“I’m deeply saddened to see this voter suppression bill put forward here in Georgia, where some of the hardest-fought civil rights battles have taken place. Our Black churches are squarely in the cross hairs of this bill, which aims to ban early voting on Sundays — in direct response to our civic-minded ‘souls to the polls’ projects. Not only that, this bill is downright cruel: It actually prohibits giving food and water to voters in long lines at polling places. I want to believe that such a backward-looking, harsh and racist piece of legislation cannot and will not be passed in Georgia in 2021. I am counting on a majority of Georgia lawmakers to do the right thing and defeat it,” said Rev. McDonald.