Late Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) knew this could happen.
The purveyor of “good trouble” fought his whole life to secure Voting Rights for Black people and America’s underserved, representing Georgia’s state.
However, on Thursday, his good works were stymied drastically when Republicans in Georgia passed an elections bill that is a blatant attempt at voter suppression.
🚨BREAKING: On behalf of @NewGAProject, @BlackVotersMtr and @RiseFreeOrg, we have sued Georgia for enacting a new voter suppression law that violates the US Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. https://t.co/9r2DVxZEVR
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) March 26, 2021
Among the provisions of Georgia’s new voter suppression law according to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, S.B. 202 takes such steps as:
They are restricting early voting during runoff elections and requiring additional identification for absentee voters.
They are banning mobile voting units for early voting unless a specified emergency is declared.
They are stripping power away from the very local officials tasked with administering elections, as well as removing Georgia’s elected secretary of state from leading the State Election Board.
They are drastically limiting and removing secure ballot return drop boxes.
They require additional identification for absentee voting.
New voter identification requirements for absentee ballots empower state officials to take over local election boards, limit the use of ballot drop boxes, and make it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water.
Yes, that’s right; it’s a crime to provide food and water to people waiting to vote in Georgia.
Former President Trump’s footprints are all over the bill, reaffirming his assertion of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 election.
The direct effect of the white angst that drew Trump supporters to storm the Capitol and riot on January 6th has manifested itself in the Georgia legislature.
Republicans’ rebuke of the November and January elections in which the state’s Black voters led the election of two Democrats to the Senate. The Senate win of Rev. Raphael Warnock especially, Georgia’s first Black Senator, and the Blue flip enabled by the efforts of voter guru Stacey Abrams pressured Georgia leaders to pass the bill.
Trump’s protestations to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state are still an open wound, and the moves show the hurt will not go away from the old guard.
From the National view, President Biden has called the bills
“sick” and “un-American.”
Other Republican-led states like Michigan and Pennsylvania are considering similar voter suppression laws; federal legislation should demand a national baseline for voting rules.
With measures that will allow any Georgian to pose an unlimited number of challenges to voter registrations and eligibility, it targets voters of color.
Democrats in the Georgia Senate excoriated measures to remove the state’s secretary as chair of the state elections board and allow lawmakers to install his replacement; this would give lawmakers three of five appointments.
According to Voting rights advocates, granting the state new powers over county elections goes against the tradition of local control. Fears could lead to a scenario in which state officials storm in to prevent a county from certifying its election results.
Hey everyone, thank you for your support. I’ve been released from jail. I am not the first Georgian to be arrested for fighting voter suppression. I’d love to say I’m the last, but we know that isn’t true. #SB202
— Representative Park Cannon (@Cannonfor58) March 26, 2021
Reaction to it was swift.
Democratic state Rep. Park Cannon was arrested after repeatedly knocking on Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s office door during his closed-door bill signing.
Congressman John Lewis knew that Black achievement always prompts a response of white rebuke, and this latest iteration is only part and parcel of the failings of the American experiment.