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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Georgia GOP ‘hijacked’ two-page bill to sneak in nearly 100 pages of voting rights restrictions

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The measure is now sent to the Georgia Senate, which has adopted its own version of the measure,” Bluestein said in another tweet. “I’ve heard from multiple sources there’s an outside chance the two chambers hash out their disagreements *today* for final passage though Monday might be more attainable …”

Democratic state Rep. Erica Thomas told the AJC it is “unbelievable that there are still some people trying to stop people from voting today.” “You are changing the rules, cutting the voting hours, and making it more difficult for people to vote,” she said. “Too many people fought, bled, and died for our right to vote.”

The proposed law, which the Senate originally passed as a two-page proposal to make sure eligible voters didn’t repeatedly receive absentee ballot applications, was expanded into a nearly 100-page legislative document on March 17. Republican Rep. Barry Fleming told the AJC the proposal wasn’t actually new and just combined elements of Senate Bill 241, which threatened no-excuse absentee voting, and House Bill 531, which added the weekend voting restriction, included a voter ID requirement in the absentee voting process, and limited the use of drop boxes.

Even top Republican officials in Georgia opposed the House bill. “Republicans don’t need election reform to win,” Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said in the interview on Sunday. “We need leadership. I think there’s millions of Republicans waking up around the country that are realizing that Donald Trump’s divisive tone and strategy is unwinnable in forward-looking elections.”

Although the restrictions on Sunday voting and no-excuse absentee voting didn’t make it to Senate Bill 202, the Democratic Party of Georgia said in a statement the bill is similarly restrictive. That would explain why GOP lawmakers “hijacked the two-page bill at the last minute, turning it into a 93-page voter suppression omnibus bill and rushing it through committee before allowing full public scrutiny,” in the words of Georgia Democrats. 

 “The GOP just won’t stop when it comes to making it harder for Georgians to vote,” the state party added in its statement. “Senate Bill 202 contains the worst of their party’s racist voter suppression tactics, such as restricting absentee voting, making runoffs nearly impossible to implement, and allowing partisan actors to take control of elections. This bill is not about election integrity – it’s simply another GOP push to revive Jim Crow and turn our elections into a disaster in order to suppress votes.”

Bishop Reginald Jackson of the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church told NPR try as they may, no measure to block the Black vote will prosper. “We gather in our churches on Sunday morning, you have morning worship and then after the service you get on the church buses, church vans, get in cars and people go to vote,” he said, describing “souls to the polls”.

“If you go back to early times of Jim Crow, even though they did everything to make it hard for us to vote, our ancestors still made every gallant effort,” Jackson added. “They cast their ballot. Blacks are resilient.”

It would be nice if we didn’t have to be.

RELATED: GOP senator says people shouldn’t vote on Sundays because ‘in God we trust’ is printed on money

RELATED: ‘They don’t get to hide’: These 22 companies donated to sponsors of voter suppression bills

RELATED: Same Republicans peeling back rights of Black voters want them treated as gangs when they protest

RELATED: ‘Folks got lynched’: Georgia senator pushes GOP on what it’s willing to sacrifice to suppress vote


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