Some call it “a solution looking for a problem” when referring to the wave of election reform initiatives sprouting up in at least 43 states. Critics of the reform initiatives cite that the wave of GOP sponsored bills are in large part a reaction to the “big lie” perpetrated by the Trump administration’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was rife with illegal voting and voter fraud, although Trump’s claims proved to be false.
Now Georgia governor Brian Kemp who has been the target of much criticism from fellow Republicans expressing disappointment and resentment for the state going from red to blue and sending two democratic senators to Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock to Washington and giving Democrats a majority in the U.S. Senate.
“This is nothing more than retaliation for the successes of the 2020 Election. Now, Governor Kemp and Republican legislators want to change the rules because they didn’t like the outcome,” said Georgia Congresswoman Williams. “They’re trying to turn back the clock
and enact Jim Crow 2.0 laws. We may not be counting jelly beans in a jar, but the end result is the same – to keep people who look like me away from the ballot box.
“This fight is far from over. That is why our focus must be on passing legislation like H.R.1 at the federal level, which has already passed the House and is now in the Senate, and move H.R.4 across the finish line. No matter where you live in this country you should have the
same access to the ballot box. In Congress, we must pass these key pieces of voting rights legislation to protect the sacred right to vote and preserve our democracy,” Williams added in a statement.
The 96-page bill makes dramatic alterations to Georgia’s absentee voting rules, adding new identification requirements, moving back the request deadline and other changes after a record 1.3 million absentee ballots overwhelmed local elections officials and raised Republican skepticism of a voting method they created.
Democrats opposed several pieces of the bill, including language that would remove the secretary of state as chair of the State Election Board, allowing the SEB and lawmakers a process to temporarily take over elections offices and severely limiting the number, location and access of secure absentee drop boxes.
Following the passage of Georgia’s #SB202 voter suppression bill, People For the American Way President Ben Jealous released the following statement:
“The Republican party has surely lost whatever shred of credibility they had as being a party concerned about protecting democracy and the voting rights of Black and brown communities. Yesterday’s actions were a throwback to the Jim Crow era — a room full of white men signing laws to take away the rights of African Americans and using law enforcement to squash peaceful dissent. Georgia State Representative Park Cannon is a hero and her arrest sends a chilling message about how far the right wing will go to destroy democracy. Jim Crow is alive and well and it’s time for Congress and the Biden Administration to act. We need to immediately end the Jim Crow filibuster and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act, S.1.”
Had the bill been enacted prior to the 2020 election it would have eliminated the 20-candidate special election to fill the remainder of Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term and accompanying runoff between then-Sen. Kelly Loeffler and current Sen. Raphael Warnock would not have happened: special elections would have special primaries.
Fulton County would no longer be able to use its two mobile voting buses for early voting, as the bill would limit mobile polls to emergencies.
Third-party supporters would also be restricted from giving food and water to voters waiting in line to cast their ballots.