Voting Access

Georgia G.O.P Passes Bill Limiting Voting Access Into Law

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Republican lawmakers in Georgia passed a sweeping elections bill on Thursday, adding major limitations to voting access.

The law will require voter identification for absentee ballots, allow state officials to oversee local elections boards, limit the use of ballot drop boxes, and even makes it illegal to offer food and water to voters standing on line.

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Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed The Election Integrity Act of 2021 into law on Thursday evening after it was rushed through both the state house and senate.

The new law comes amid a national effort by Republicans to restrict voting access following the tumultuous 2020 election and makes Georgia the first battleground state to do so.

Democrats and voting rights activists argue that the law specifically targets Black voters, who were crucial to President Joe Biden’s win in the state during November’s elections.

In his first White House press conference since taking office, Biden called the Republican effort to limit voting rights “un-American” and “sick.”

Immediately following the bill’s passing, voting rights groups The New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter Fund and Rise Inc. filed a lawsuit in opposition to the law.

“In large part because of the racial disparities in areas outside of voting – such as socioeconomic status, housing, and employment opportunities – the Voter Suppression Bill disproportionately impacts Black voters, and interacts with these vestiges of discrimination in Georgia to deny Black voters (an) equal opportunity to participate in the political process and/or elect a candidate of their choice,” the lawsuit states.

In earlier, harsher iterations of the law, GOP lawmakers planned to restrict weekend voting access – a measure aimed directly at Black churches where worshippers head to the polls after Sunday service.

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Former Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Georgia and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams told CNN that the law is “a redux of Jim Crow in a suit and tie.”

“More people of color voted, and it changed the outcome of elections in a direction that Republicans do not like,” she said, highlighting the correlation between an increase in Black voters and Republican’s loss in Georgia during the 2020 elections.

“Our system of government demands active participation from citizens to direct the future of our nation,” she added. “We should be deeply disappointed in anyone… who seeks to restrict access to the right to vote.”

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