Georgia Lawmaker Arrested Protesting Sweeping New Voting Restrictions

A Georgia lawmaker was arrested while protesting outside of an office where Gov. Brian Kemp signed a sweeping voting reform bill into law, The New York Times reports.

The bill, SB202, was passed with only Republican votes in both chambers of the GOP-dominated state legislature, though it excluded previously proposed measures to eliminate no-excuse absentee voting in its entirety and another measure to restrict Sunday voting that critics said disproportionately impacted Black voters.

The bill signed by Kemp on Thursday will strip the elected secretary of state of some authority overseeing the election and replace him with a legislature-appointed elections chairman. The bill will also allow state officials to temporarily take over local election offices, a move seen as targeting heavily Black and Democratic areas around Atlanta.

The bill also requires voter ID for mail ballots, restricts who can vote with provisional ballots, restricts the use of ballot drop boxes, and makes it a crime to offer voters in long lines food or water.

The bill expands early voting but limits the runoff elections from nine weeks to four.

Lawmaker arrested:

Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon, the youngest member of the state assembly, was arrested on Thursday for knocking on Kemp’s door as he signed the legislation.

Cannon was charged with two felonies despite a law barring the arrest of lawmakers during assembly sessions except for egregious crimes.

Video shows Cannon ignoring a state trooper’s instruction to stop knocking on the door before she is detained and dragged out through the halls of the state Capitol.

"There is no reason for me to be arrested,” she yells. “I am a legislator!"

The Georgia State Patrol said Cannon was “advised that she was disturbing what was going on inside and if she did not stop, she would be placed under arrest."

Her arrest warrant claims that she “stomped” on an officer’s foot three times as he was being dragged out.

"I am not the first Georgian to be arrested for fighting voter suppression,” she tweeted after she was released Thursday night. “I'd love to say I'm the last, but we know that isn't true."

Lawsuit filed:

Three voting rights groups filed a lawsuit against the state challenging the new law on Friday.

The lawsuit argues that the law imposes “unconstitutional burdens on the right to vote” that disproportionately affect Black voters.

“None of the bill’s burdensome and discriminatory changes to Georgia’s election code will increase the public’s confidence in the state’s election administration or ensure election integrity,” the lawsuit says. “Rather, the grab bag of voting restrictions that populate SB 202 make clear that the Bill was animated by an impermissible goal of restricting voting.”


Related News