Updated: May 16, 2021
The memory of Dr. King visited me today as I watched CNN report on the new Georgia law, wondering what was next for the Peach state. The recent passing of the Georgia SB 202 voter law reminds me of the bloodshed painted through pictures and movies of the Civil Rights movement, the Voter Rights Act of 1965 and all of the lives that were lost in an attempt to let freedom ring.
Presently, the Georgia voter rights that are being wronged are all based off a lie.
Remember when Trump insisted voter fraud had plagued our democracy and demanded a recount of the Georgia ballots? 5 million ballots and $400,000 later we found out what we had already knew. Yeah.
Two weeks ago when Georgia Representative Park Cannon was arrested for knocking on Governor Brian Kemps closed door as he signed the legislation into law, we should’ve know it was going to get worse.
The 95-page law now requires a government identification number if you vote by absentee ballot, it allows the state to intervene in the voting process if they see fit and prohibits food or drink distribution to voters in line within 150 feet of the polling location, among other restrictions.
But if no voter fraud was ever detected, why was it necessary to pass a new law?
According to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, it’s a “civil rights effort to protect access to the
But it does the exact opposite.
Protecting access doesn’t limit the number of drop boxes at polling locations or limits time to request absentee ballots.
But Georgia SB 202 does.
Although drop boxes were never a fixture in Georgia voting history, the pandemic pushed them outside of polling locations to ensure everyone could exercise their right while keeping them safe. Now instead of 24-hour access for dropping your ballot securely outdoors, the amount of drop boxes will be significantly reduced and will only be found inside of government buildings and polling locations during specific hours.
Instead of the almost six months a voter could request a ballot, it’s been reduced to less than three. The latter was given before to ensure all ballots would be received by voters and with enough time to get it mailed back to the polling location.
Speaking of location, have you ever gone to the wrong one to vote? Now in Georgia, if you show up at the wrong polling place, there will be no provisional ballots. Instead, voters will be redirected to the correct precinct, making them more susceptible to not voting or making it to the polling location with enough time to vote.
The two weeks it took to conclude the results of the election gave Trump the fuel he needed to cast doubt in enough Americans and some elected officials who felt new legislation needed to be drawn up.
With the MLB franchise moving the All-Star game and draft from Atlanta to Denver, followed by companies like UPS, JPMorgan Chase and Porsche Cars North America offering their disdain for the voting law, legislators have now turned to fearmongering. But like it'll take more than a few idle threats to scare corporations into submission, it's going to take more than a couple provisions to keep peoples from the polls
Long gone are the days you could scare people away from polling places. The 2020 elections taught us just what a suppressed vote could do as the country watched a state rooted in injustice and inequality 360 its way to the change we knew could come. And if the black vote did not count, they would not be trying so hard to keep it from the polls, right?
Something is definitely brewing in Georgia. And it won't take another election for it to all come spilling over.