Georgia Democrats say state-level Republicans are furiously introducing tough new voting laws, many of which critics say are intended to reduce the record black turnout that elevated President Joe Biden in November.
Atlanta Rep. Hank Johnson is among several House Democrats who accuse Georgia Republicans of introducing new “voter integrity” bills that aim to end traditional vote advocacy campaigns. in black communities. Republicans, who control both houses of the state General Assembly and the governor’s office, proposed a bill last week that would eliminate early voting on Sundays, a move that black church leaders say is aimed directly at his recent efforts to boost voter turnout. Driving the all-time record turnout in minority communities across the state, more than 4 million Georgia voters cast their early or absentee ballot in the 2020 general election.
A Republican who was ousted in part by Georgia’s voter turnout efforts, former Senator Kelly Loeffler, announced Monday that she is starting a rival voting rights group that seeks to counter Abrams. Loeffler and his fellow Republican incumbent, former Georgia Senator David Perdue, were defeated by Democrats in January 2021.
“Left to their own devices, Republicans will try to limit the ability of minority voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” said Johnson, a Georgia Democrat who co-sponsored a federal election rules bill that Republicans have called of “overreach”.
the House bill due to vote next week, would require early voting time frames in states like Georgia and force districts with a history of racial profiling to first inform federal officials of any voting law changes.
Republicans on the Georgia House of Representatives Special Committee on Election Integrity introduced several laws that would create sweeping changes to state voting requirements. Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who was despised by former President Donald Trump for not helping him revoke the November election, has said he supports photo identification requirements for absentee ballots.
But dozens of Republican bills recently introduced would limit the time absentee ballots can be requested and create several new obstacles to voting by mail, a method used in massive numbers last November by black voters.
“It’s open season on voting rights in Georgia,” Johnson told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
“It’s a new form of voter suppression, the Klan in three-piece suits instead of white hoods,” said the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, which has participated in events for souls at the polls. “They know the power of the black vote and their goal is to suppress that power,” McDonald told the AP.
Black church leaders fired Georgia Republicans like State Representative Barry Fleming, who described the legislation as “an attempt to restore confidence in our electoral system.” Republican bills that would restrict voter access on Sundays is a blatant attack on black churches, some pastors told the AP.
“It’s a new form of voter suppression, the Klan in three-piece suits instead of white hoods,” said the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta. “They know the power of the black vote and their goal is to suppress that power.”
To learn more about this story, read the additional Associated Press reports below.
Biden beat former President Donald Trump by roughly 12,000 votes, becoming the first Democrat to win a presidential race in Georgia since 1992. Biden received nearly twice as many absentee votes as Trump in a state that became a major target of the unsubstantiated claims. of Trump fraud. . Biden’s victory there was confirmed on three separate counts, including one by hand.
“These measures, in our opinion, are not based on any objective, data-driven, and evidence-based assessment of the problem, but solely with the intent of undermining black voters and other communities of concern,” said Democratic State Representative Michael Smith, chair of the Georgia Black Legislative Caucus Policy Committee.
Republicans are trying to limit the ways of voting that have been wildly popular. After states expanded access to early voting and mail-in during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 70 percent of all ballots cast nationwide occurred before Election Day.