Press Statement: ACLU of Georgia Executive Director on General Assembly Passage of SB 202
ATLANTA – “Today, the Georgia General Assembly made the best possible case for the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the U.S. Senate.
“In response to a highly contested and highly scrutinized election, the majority of legislators rejected facts and embraced fear-mongering and conspiracy theories. They rejected the same electoral process in which they, themselves, won election. Senate Bill 202 is an anti-voter bill that attacks absentee voting, criminalizes giving Georgians a drink of water to their neighbors, allows state takeover of county elections, and retaliates against the elected Secretary of State by replacing him with a State Board of Elections Chair chosen by the legislature—not the voters. 56 years ago on this very date, March 25, Martin Luther King called for the Voting Rights Act from the steps of the capitol on Montgomery. The Georgia House majority repudiates their native son with this bill.
“The House majority voted to undermine our democracy attempting to manipulate not only the electorate but also the 159 independent boards of election in the counties. As always, the burden of these changes falls most heavily on voters of color — those the Voting Rights Act was designed to protect,” said Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia.
Background: Top 6 Issues with SB 202
- Allows the state legislature to take over county elections through control of the State Election Board (“SEB”) and the Secretary of State’s office (state takeover of county elections).
- Dramatically restricts absentee by mail voting (attack on absentee voting).
- Makes runoff elections virtually impossible to administer by moving them to 28 days after the general election (28-day runoff).
- Criminalizes Georgians providing refreshments to their neighbors who are waiting in line to vote (line-warming ban).
- Disenfranchises most eligible voters on Election Day who cast provisional ballots inside their own counties but outside their one assigned polling location (disenfranchises out-of-precinct voters).
- Creates county budget shortfalls through cuts and unfunded mandates (overwhelms county budgets).