State Rep. Park Cannon, D-Atlanta, stands in the back of a Georgia State Capitol patrol car after being arrested by Georgia State Police at the Georgia State Capitol Building in Atlanta on Thursday March 25, 2021.
Alyssa Pointer / Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP
A bill backed by the Georgia Republican Party that will review election protocols in the state became law Thursday.
The legislation includes new restrictions on voting by mail and increases legislative control over elections in the state.
Opponents claim the move is an unnecessary reaction to former President Trump’s claims that widespread electoral fraud in the state led to his defeat in the 2020 election.
Georgia, a traditionally red state, narrowly voted for President Biden and two US Democratic senators amid record turnout in the latest election cycle.
The new law limits the window in which absentee ballots can be requested and reduces the number of locations and the number of times the polls can be accessed.
The measure also gives the Republican-led Senate and House more control over the administration of elections, including the option to appoint the chairman of the board of elections and remove and replace county elections officials.
The new law will also shorten the deadline for second-round elections and prohibit groups from delivering food and water to voters.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp was delivering remarks after signing the bill when he was interrupted by ten protesters, including two lawmakers, outside his Atlanta office.
Kemp, a Republican, asked an attendee “what’s wrong” before a live broadcast of the ceremony went off.
State Representative Erica Thomas, a Democrat, who is black, was arrested after knocking on Kemp’s door during her speech.
The measure was full of “voter suppression tactics,” said a senior Democrat.
“We are witnessing a massive and brazen assault on voting rights right now that is unlike anything we’ve seen since the Jim Crow era,” said Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler.
With AP cables