Georgia’s Anti-Voter Law

Andrea Young, executive direct of the ACLU of Georgia, spoke with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (left) on March 5, 2021, and Jonathan Capehart (right) on April 4, 2021, regarding Georgia’s anti-voter law.

Georgia's Anti-Voter Law

Within seven hours on March 25, 2021, the Georgia State House of Representatives and Senate passed and Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law Georgia’s anti-voter rights law. These elected officials’ actions follow the 2020 presidential election and the 2021 runoff elections for two seats to the U.S. Senate that saw record turnout of voters, particularly Black voters, in Georgia.

Georgia’s anti-voter bill attacks absentee voting, criminalizes Georgians who give a drink of water to their neighbors, allows the State to takeover county elections, and retaliates against the elected Secretary of State by replacing him with a State Board of Elections Chair chosen by the legislature—rather than the voters.

56 years ago on the very date, March 25, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called for passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 from the steps of the capitol on Montgomery. The Georgia House and Senate legislative majority as well as Governor repudiated their native son with passage of and signing into law this anti-voter bill.

What You Need to Know

  • The State forces citizens who need to vote by mail to risk identity theft.

  • The State cuts off citizens’ ability to apply for an absentee, mail-in ballot 11-days before the final election day without any provisions for emergencies such as the need to quarantine for COVID. Governor Kemp applied for an absentee ballot the Friday before the 2020 November election and used a dropbox for this very reason.

  • The State restricts drop box locations and hours to inside early voting locations during office hours only. Last election, drop boxes were located outside of buildings and accessible 24/7.

  • The State can take-over local election boards and hire and fire local employees when an election result displeases a politician. 

  • The State can put in jail citizens who offer food or water to voters standing in line for hours in the heat.

  • The State bans local counties, cities, and towns from receiving private funding which has paid for things such as generators during a terrible storm on Election Day.

Civil rights groups filed a new federal lawsuit against Georgia’s sweeping law that makes it much harder for all Georgians to vote, particularly voters of color, new citizens, religious communities, and people with disabilities.

The lawsuit challenges multiple provisions in S.B. 202, including the following:

  • ban on mobile voting

  • new narrow identification requirements for requesting and casting an absentee ballot

  • delayed and compressed time period for requesting absentee ballots

  • restrictions on secure drop boxes

  • out-of-precinct provisional ballot disqualification

  • drastic reduction in early voting in runoff elections

  • perhaps most cruelly, ban on “line warming,” where volunteers provide water and snacks to Georgians, disproportionately those of color, who wait in needlessly long lines to cast their vote.

Click to read more about the lawsuit.

View Testimonies of ACLU of Georgia political director Christopher Bruce

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