The nationwide push by Republicans to restrict voting rights scored a major victory Thursday as Georgia’s state legislature passed a sweeping bill that imposes major obstacles on the voting process.
As Governor Kemp signed the bill into law, an ugly scene erupted outside his office. State representative Park Cannon, a Democrat from Atlanta, was taken into custody by state troopers.
The legislation passed along strict party lines in both the House and the Senate. Some of the restrictions are harsh — for example, it’s now illegal to bring food or water to voters waiting in line. Many elements of the law seem designed to simply reduce the number of people who turn out to vote, in particular Georgia’s African-American voters.
The bill was assembled after Democrats won Georgia in the November presidential election, then swept the two Senate runoff elections in January. Former president Trump falsely claimed the voting in Georgia was rigged. State election officials insisted the voting was handled properly and all subsequent vetting confirmed that.
Still, it didn’t stop the state’s Republican leaders from putting into action a plan Democrats say is blatant voter suppression. Georgia republican lawmakers say the new law is meant to ensure “voter integrity,” despite the fact that there was no election fraud in 2020. It’s a familiar pattern being seen in states around the country where the legislatures are controlled by the GOP.
Democrats and activists say the passing of this law will only galvanize them to continue to fight for voting rights. Here’s what Georgia Representative Carolyn Hugley from Columbus had to say.
“This is a partisan power grab in response to the electoral defeat in the 2020 election cycle. We will not stand idly by and let Jim Crow 2.0 roll back our new Georgia.”