SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has signed a controversial voting bill into law. The new law adds new restrictions on voting by mail and gives the state legislature greater control over how elections are run.
“With Senate Bill 202, Georgia will take another step toward ensuring that our elections are secure, accessible, and fair,” Kemp said.
After record turnout during the presidential and U.S. Senate elections, allegations of voter fraud came forward prompting the Republican-led state legislature to overhaul Georgia’s voting laws.
State Representative Carl Gilliard (D-Garden City) responding to the new law Friday by releasing the following statement:
“The eyes of the world continue to shine on Georgia in the recent passing and signing into law of Senate Bill 2002. We have truly set the hands of time backwards .The voice of the people of Georgia spoke in the last two elections in November and January. We have moved beyond the times of Jim Crow in the civil rights movement and now with the passing of Senate Bill 2002 we have moved into Jim Eagle flying away with the will of the people of Georgia. We must move forward and not move backwards.”
“I think it’s a dark day in Georgia history Thursday. I think that the legislation that was written into law is a far reach back into the days of Jim Crow,” Communications Manager with the Chatham County Democratic Party, Catalina Garcia-Quick said.
She said this law will impact several minorities and low wealth communities across the state.
“In states across the country, Republican leaders are introducing this type of legislation specifically to suppress voters, restrict access because they had an embarrassing significant loss in the fall,” Garcia-Quick said.
The legislation would replace the signature matching process and create new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, allow state officials to take over local election boards, limit the use of ballot drop boxes, and makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food or water.
“I don’t understand why the Democratic Party would not want to have a just and fair election. It’s beyond me,” First Vice-Chair with the Chatham County Republican Party, Carl Smith said.
Smith believes the secretary of state’s office didn’t do enough to secure the election and agrees there were alarming issues that created a lack of trust in the election process.
“You should want to make sure every legal voter is allowed to vote in the state of Georgia, but that that person only gets one vote and that we’re able at the end of the day track down every single person who voted,” Smith said.
The Secretary of State, Republican Brad Raffensperger, has called the election the most secure and trustworthy in Georgia history.