Voting rights advocates condemned a sweeping new Republican bill aimed at restricting voting access in Georgia, Reuters reports.
Republicans introduced a 48-page bill that includes new ID requirements for absentee voting, limits the time period that voters can request an absentee ballot, restricts the use of drop boxes, and eliminates early voting on Sundays, which is when Black churches hold their traditional “Souls to the Polls” voter turnout events.
“Georgia Republicans saw what happens when Black voters are empowered and show up at the polls, and now they’re launching a concerted effort to suppress the votes and voices of Black Georgians,” Nse Ufot, the founder of New South Super PAC, told Reuters.
Republicans around the country have rolled out bills aimed at restricting voting access in the wake of Donald Trump’s false narrative about the election.
State House Rep. Barry Fleming, who authored the bill, said that provisions like the ID requirement were not burdensome.
“We’re simply asking for what is already approved and required for the federal law,” he said.
“We all want the same thing at the end of the day, that the elections are fair, honest, and that everyone votes their conscience, and no one is manipulated (or) threatened,” said bill co-author Rep. Rick Williams.
Dems vow to oppose:
The spate of new legislation aimed at curtailing ballot access has alarmed voting rights groups and Democrats.
“What we saw in this election was record turnout, and Republican legislators have responded by saying, ‘We didn’t actually want you to come vote,’” Sylvia Albert, the voting and elections director at Common Cause, told Reuters.
Democratic State Rep. Rhonda Burnough criticized the quick rollout of the bill.
"The public, people of color, they didn't have opportunity to review or to give an opinion and there's a lot of information in here that needs to be digested and looked at," she told NPR. "I think if we're trying to really work towards restoring confidence that we should be working towards improving everything based on suggestions from the entire state of Georgia, not just us down here in the General Assembly."