More than 250 voter restriction bills were introduced in the United States after the 2020 General Election. It seems that the Republican party remains loyal to Donald Trump, the egomaniac who continues to maintain the election was stolen from him. On March 26, 2021, Georgia’s lawmakers encircled Gov. Brian Kemp as he signed highly restrictive voting laws into law.
The editorial board for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution declared that Georgian “lawmakers managed to march firmly onto the wrong side of history.” They decried the cynical series of actions that have no place in their state; especially one with the state motto of Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation. The acts legislators and governor did not reflect these values at all, they continued.
We’ve said it before here, and lawmakers’ actions necessitate saying it again. There was no voting fraud or related shenanigans of a magnitude that would have affected the outcome of the November elections — or the January U.S. Senate runoff.
Not only were Trump’s lawsuits thrown out of court, judge after judge determined the so-called evidence was insufficient.
But that fact did not stop GOP in Georgia and 42 other states from pushing through bills to make it harder for non-Republican voters to cast their ballots.
President Joe Biden released a statement in response to the new voting laws in Georgia. He declared that the integrity of the voting process was upheld after numerous recounts and failed court cases. The outcome of the 2020 General Election was a “clearly free, fair, and secure democratic process.”
Biden called the new voting restriction law an “atrocity,” a blatant attack on the Consitution” that amounts to “Jim Crow in the 21st century,” which he said must end. The term Jim Crow refers to 19th and 20th Century laws that fortified racial discrimination in the South.
Georgia’s new law has several components that violate laws passed to protect voting rights. Republicans claim the changes will inspire more confidence in election security, whereas Democrats say the legislation will make it harder for working-class people to cast a ballot.
- It adds new identification conditions for requesting mail-in ballots. A move that replaces the current method of collecting a signature.
- It gives the state legislature more power over the state election board. Democrats contend this move will allow lawmakers to throw out votes in some counties.
- It shortens the length of time for runoff elections. The timeframe will decrease from nine weeks to four which decreases the time for early and mail-in voting.
- It bans providing food or water to voters standing in line. In some areas, voters face long lines and wait for hours to cast their ballots.
- It decreases ballot drop-off boxes to one per county.
There is a fine line between states’ rights to run their elections and the rules laid out in the Civil Rights legislation. Georgia is the second state to challenge the 1960s legislation guaranteeing everyone the right to vote when they meet minimum age requirements.
Georgia’s governor called the new laws common sense. Kemp told reporters the new laws will ensure their elections are secure, accessible, and fair.
Opponents think the laws are the polar opposite — what Georgia Republicans did was not lawmaking. Instead, the legislation was rushed through both houses in a few hour’s time and Gov. Kemp signed it into law before the day was over.
Biden told reporters the justice department is looking into Georgia’s new voting laws. The president added: the state’s Republicans rushed through an un-American law to deny people the right to vote.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Our View: Marching backward into history
CNN: These two photos show who Georgia’s new elections law benefits — and hurts; by John Blake
BBC: Biden: Georgia voting restriction law is ‘atrocity’
Featured and Top Image by Capt. Bryant Wine Courtesy of Georgia National Guard’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License