Are Republican Lawmakers Sabotaging Voting Rights in Georgia?

Inside SB 202 and the latest accusations of voter suppression in Georgia
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(PHOTO: Canva)
Georgia was the first state to blow the whistle against voting rights. For almost five days now, protests have been stirring on Georgia’s streets, and across social media from civil rights groups who are enthusiastic about challenging SB 202 in Georgia’s senate, which was signed on March 25, 2021.

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, this bill “restricts voting at every stage” and targets Black voters. The new law will give the state more control over the elections and inhibit voting through the mail.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that after signing the voting restrictions, Georgia’s Republican governor Brian Kemp said, “Significant reforms to our state elections were needed. There’s no doubt there were many alarming issues with how the election was handled, and those problems, understandably, led to a crisis of confidence in the ballot box here in Georgia.”

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However, the new voting law has faced some severe resistance, such as seen by Democratic state Representative Park Cannon, a Black woman who was arrested on Thursday for persistently knocking on Kemp’s door because she was firmly against the new law.

Cannon said she was arrested for being a Black woman openly protesting voter suppression of Black communities in Georgia. Apart from inhibiting mail-in voting, the new law includes other limitations such as producing ID information with both an absentee ballot request and the ballot itself, hence increasing the chances of exclusion by reducing voter qualification chances.

​According to Democratic senator Gloria Butler, the new bill will significantly mitigate voter turnout of the poor and disabled. To Butler this is a “massive and unabashed assault on voting rights,” AP news reported. The law also reduces the election period to four weeks, from nine weeks, thus reducing the time voters apply for an absentee ballot.

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On Thursday, The Guardian US noted that Democratic state senator Jen Jordan said “this bill is absolutely about opportunities, but it isn’t about opportunities to vote. It is about the opportunity to keep control and keep power at any cost.” The bill was also drafted to add power to the state legislature, which Republicans dominate, and allow it to appoint a majority of members on the five-person state election board.

To Atlanta organizers, this bill is interpreted as “Jim Crow 2.0,” according to Atlanta Journal Constitution. Furthermore, this bill is seen as a measure by Republicans to push back the Democratic votes, mainly because the voters in Georgia during the November elections and the January Senate runoffs saw substantial voter turnouts, especially among Black and other minority voters Georgia.

The Republicans who spearheaded this legislation argue that it increases accessibility. On his Twitter, Georgia’s Governor wrote, “I was proud to sign S.B. 202 to ensure elections in Georgia are secure, fair, and accessible. I appreciate the hard work of members of the General Assembly to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.” ~

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