Voting, civil rights groups condemn new law as voter suppression

Politics

ATLANTA (WSAV) – Georgia NAACP, Fair Fight Action, and the Southern Poverty Law Center described Georgia’s new voting laws as voter suppression in a conference call.

“Brian Kemp championed and signed, in a locked room, a precision voter suppression bill that was instigated by an insurrection and the lie of voter fraud,” Fair Fight Action CEO Lauren Groh-Wargo said Monday.

Groh-Wargo went on to say Kemp celebrated the lost jobs, revenue and income from the fallout of the MLB’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star game from Atlanta. Groh-Wargo said Kemp cannot blame Stacey Abrams, President Joe Biden or anyone who opposes the bill and that the fallout was “nobody’s fault but his own.”

Opposers of the bill, SB 202, have criticized measures such as the banning of mobile voting centers, banning the automatic mailing of absentee ballots, reducing the window of time for voters to request absentee ballots and reducing the number of drop boxes, compared to what was used in the general election in November 2020.

“This is an attempt by Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly of not only taking power away from local boards of election, taking power away from the state election board, which is dually elected, taking power away from Georgia voters, to be able to decide what happens in public policy,” Georgia NAACP State President Rev. James Woodall said.

Woodall said the laws go much deeper than requiring a photo ID to cast a ballot and pointed to the provision that allows the Georgia General Assembly to appoint someone to head the state election board. Woodall said this provision is the most dangerous in the entire bill.

“This is a very surgical and precise act that’s seeking to take away just the smallest margin of error so that they can decide through the pinning of legislation who wins and who loses elections,” Woodall said.

Woodall also pushed back on the idea that he, along with others who oppose the bill, didn’t read it.

“Many of us were literally at every single hearing, looked at every single piece of legislation and know the context of which this is being discussed,” Woodall said. He added Republicans made it clear they wanted to target Fulton County and similar counties.

Seth Bringman, spokesperson for Former Georgia House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams, pushed back on Kemp’s claims that SB 202 expands voting rights for all Georgians. He said nearly 60% of Georgia voters will see no increase in early weekend voting. It remains the same, with these counties allowing two Saturdays of early voting.

Biden won these counties in the general election in November 2020.

However, counties in which former President Donald Trump won in the general election, now require allowing two Saturdays of early voting.

Kemp has spoken out against the MLB’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star game, claiming they caved into fears over Democrats and “Cancel Culture.”

“In the middle of a pandemic, major league baseball put the wishes of Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden ahead of the economic well-being of hard-working Georgians who were counting on the All-Star game for a paycheck,” Kemp said.

Kemp also added that those who oppose the bill have not read the bill. Instead, their opinions stem from an early version of the bill and have since then been altered.

“SB 202 expands access to voting, secures ballot drop boxes around the clock in every county, expands weekends voting, protects no-excuse absentee voting, it levels the playing field on voter ID requirements as well as streamlining election procedures,” Kemp said.

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