Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signs Jim Crow-style voter suppression omnibus bill

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Ever since Election Night 2020, Republicans have been consumed with Donald Trump’s “big lie,” which is that he somehow “won” the election if not for… all of the other votes which were counted. Trump really thought he had the power to “stop the count” on Election Night when he was briefly ahead in various states. “Stop the Count” turned into “stop the steal,” which directly led to Donald Trump inciting a terrorist insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th. As it turns out, the terrorism was only one part of the Republican Party’s larger plan. They are still so pissed off that Black folks VOTED, so now Republicans around the country are pushing for Jim Crow-era voter suppression legislation. Last night, Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp signed a huge omnibus voter-suppression into law. The only thing missing from the bill is a literacy test.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a nearly 100-page omnibus bill Thursday that will make sweeping changes to election law, impacting voters, local election administrators and the board overseeing elections. With just days left before the legislative session ends, Republican lawmakers in both chambers of the Georgia General Assembly passed the bill, SB 202, on a party-line vote in the House first and then the Senate.

Marc Elias, the attorney leading the charge on behalf of Democrats to expand options during the pandemic, had already promised “an immediate lawsuit” if Kemp signed the bill into law.

Democrats and voting rights advocates have blasted the bill as a voter-suppression tactic and legislative “power grab” in response to former President Donald Trump and GOP allies peddling false conspiracy theories about a stolen, fraud-filled election for months. But Republicans contend the bill increases accessibility and is meant to streamline elections, provide uniformity and address a lack of confidence in Georgia’s elections “on all sides of the political spectrum,” a notion Democrats dispute.

The bill would expand early voting for primary and general elections, but not for runoffs, which is how Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock secured their Senate seats — and the Democrats’ majority — in January, breaking a decades-long streak of Democrats losing in statewide runoff elections. For primaries and general elections, counties would be required to have advance voting on both Saturdays and have the option to do it on the two Sundays that fall in the three-week period, too. Current law only mandates one Saturday of early voting. Another omnibus election bill awaiting final votes, HB 531, originally banned early voting on Sundays, but it was changed following fierce pushback from Democrats and the faith community who called it a direct attack on Black voters who participated in “Souls to the Polls” events after Sunday service.

However, this bill would shorten the period between elections and runoffs from nine weeks to four weeks, and while counties would be able to start early voting “as soon as possible,” the bill only requires it be offered Monday through Friday the week before the election — a much shorter mandate that includes no weekend days. Complicating this further is the possibility that the week lines up with Thanksgiving, when many are traveling. This bill also bans early voting on holidays.

One provision of the bill would make it a crime for someone who is not an election worker to give food or beverage to any elector waiting in line to vote, a practice known as “line warming,” except for self-service water stations. In the June 2020 primary, voters in Georgia’s largest metro counties — Democratic strongholds with large minority populations — waited in line for up to eight hours.

Another provision bans out-of-precinct voting until 5 p.m., and electors arriving after that point must sign an affidavit saying they cannot get to their assigned precinct in time to vote. Currently, voters who show up to the wrong precinct can vote a provisional ballot and their votes will be counted for races they were eligible to vote for, like statewide races.

[From ABC News]

There are numerous provisions in this omnibus bill which will ensure that it’s easier to buy an automatic weapon than it is to vote in Georgia. It’s beyond pathetic, and further proof of why we need the John Lewis Voting Rights Act passed.

If all of this wasn’t enough to show people that Brian Kemp is from the Bull Connor-style of Jim Crow politics, Kemp had a Democratic state representative arrested for… trying to watch Kemp sign the bill into law. Rep. Park Cannon, a Black woman and Democrat from Atlanta, was arrested, dragged out of a state building and charged with felony obstruction of law enforcement and disrupting a session of the General Assembly

Photos courtesy of Getty.

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41 Responses to “Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signs Jim Crow-style voter suppression omnibus bill”

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  1. Esmom says:

    I am just stunned by this. The sheer malevolence. And I was feeling pretty good about Marc Elias’s bid to get this struck down until I remembered that this is where Trump’s SCOTUS picks will step up where they would not regarding his stolen election claims.

    And Mitch McConnell had the audacity to actually say this about H.R. 1 or For the People Act, “It represents a Democratic power grab that could tilt elections in their favor for years to come.” While denying that Republicans aren’t engaging in voter suppression in any way.

    • Original Jenns says:

      Yes, it’s is a democratic power grab because they are about getting as many to people to vote as possible and the republicans KNOW the public is tired of their racist bs. I need Biden and every Democrat with the power to push through voting rights acts. I feel so privileged not to have to deal with these racists, and be able to vote in peace, I’m ready to start marching to Georgia to demand the same for all of their citizens.

    • Hell Nah! says:

      This news is so disheartening I can’t find my words.

    • Maida says:

      This IS stunning and we all need to support Stacey Abrams’ organization Fair Fight and Marc Elias’ Democracy Docket. And the Democrats in Congress MUST pass voter protection. Nuke the filibuster if necessary, because the GQP is going to do absolutely everything they can to prevent voting by nonwhite people and to overturn election results they don’t like.

      This is not a drill. This is our last chance to preserve democracy.

    • Betsy says:

      Always remember that GOPs project, all the time. In a perverse way, they tell on themselves every single time.

      That doesn’t make this better, but it’s a small comfort.

  2. El says:

    And addition to the arrest and provisions mentioned above, also allows state election board (GOP controlled) to replace local boards of election. And the new GOP challenger for Sec. of State is my congressman, Jody Hice, who just sent out an email that mass shootings are caused by our loss of morals and single mom families. Georgia can and will do better.

    • Original Jenns says:

      Power to you!

      My one hopeful thought is that in a couple of generations (I really believe change will be coming then, my stepdaughters generation is so amazing and she is going to be a powerhouse), these names will be garbage. Everyone studying history will see these names and think scum.

  3. liz says:

    Infuriating and utterly unsurprising from the Georgia GOP. My niece was born & raised in Atlanta. She graduated from college in 2020 and immediately went to work as an organizer for the Georgia Democrats, for both the general election and the Senate runoffs. Since the election ended, she’s been working as a substitute teacher; she starts law school in the fall.

    I texted her last night to ask where to start donating to fight this travesty. Fair Fight? New Georgia Project? Somewhere else?

    • Southern Fried says:

      Please keep us updated. Thanks.

    • Lemons says:

      Give us the update! My US residency is in Georgia and I was consistently donating to the Senate races, but it looks like I will need to start donating again to ensure our voting rights. Imagine how much we, as a society, could get done if we didn’t have to spend energy and resources on ensuring the right and access to vote?

    • liz says:

      Her recommendations were the New Georgia Project and Black Voters Matter.

      Fair Fight is doing great work. NGP and BVM are the named plaintiffs in the new lawsuit against the “gross law” and do a lot of the on the ground work of registering voters.

  4. T says:

    This video shows what is wrong with the world. White authority trampling the rights of and demeaning a state official because she is a woman of color. Sickening.

  5. Lemons says:

    A line of white men watching as he signs this law. They are aware of the optics. And they care very much. They just don’t care about us (minorities, women, disenfranchised, poor, etc.)

  6. Alarmjaguar says:

    This is so outrageous and awful. I can’t even put into words how angry I am.

    • DLP says:

      As a Georgia resident, I am so furious and ready to fight this and support the folks whom are fighting it. I was in line for hours in the November elections to early vote and it was sunny and warm and a guy gave out water – how is that a problem? GRR

  7. Kate says:

    Recent northern transplant to Georgia, here.
    I loathe everything about our spineless, racist, uncaring governor.

  8. Watson says:

    Wow. No words

  9. It’sJustBlanche says:

    They just p*ssed off a whole lot of people.

  10. Twin falls says:

    Marc E. Elias is suing GA. This is his tweet on who to support.

    These are the organizations I am representing in suing Georgia:

    @NewGAProject
    @BlackVotersMtr
    @RiseFreeOrg

    They deserve your support.

  11. Brea Pond says:

    I am so beyond disgusted by this. I was born and raised in Iowa and a similar law was signed by the republican governor there. They don’t give a s**t about gun reform but they will sure give a f**k about suppressing votes in order to benefit them.

  12. Lady D says:

    The fight is never going to end. Think we’ll have learned anything by 2050?

    • Yup, Me says:

      That’s a very defeatist mentality (and sounds like you don’t plan to do anything between now and 2050 to make things any different by then).

      I’m sure Stacey Abrams and LaTosha Brown and a whole bunch of others aren’t just going “Ho hum. Maybe things will magically be different in another generation.”

    • Betsy says:

      I think we’ve learned a lot.

      The question is, how many “good Republicans” (there aren’t any, I’m sorry) can be peeled off to abstain from voting or can be convinced to vote Democratic, if this monstrosity stands. With Potted Plant John Roberts, it well might stand.

      Now if Thomas can just go away, perhaps we can start to right the ship.

  13. HoofRat says:

    Hey, GOP, how about putting some time, energy, effort and money into developing good policies that benefit society? I suppose it’s easier and cheaper to spend their time suppressing votes than to actually try to win peoples’ support honestly. I am enraged at this legislation, but not surprised in the least. The Republican party and its equivalents around the world need to be thrown with considerable force onto the dung-heap of history

    • liz says:

      They can’t. If they propose policies that work for the benefit of the majority of people in the US they either (a) piss off their corporate paymasters or (b) piss off their openly racist voters or (c) both. There aren’t enough actual people in those two categories to win fair elections, so they have to limit who is voting to people in their camp.

  14. Boo says:

    It’s hard for me to find the words. I just can’t believe they’re getting away with it. If I think about it too long I get pretty angry and upset. It’s just so blatant and gross.

  15. Betsy says:

    This is the worst one so far, but this is happening all across the country.

    We need to look into who funds these campaigns. Why does the GOP march in lock step, all across the country? Is it still ALEC writing all the bills for them? Who funds these people?

  16. sassafras says:

    It’s so appalling and un-Christian for all these supposed good Christians. Jesus gave loaves and fishes to people but they want people to starve in the hot sun for their chance to tick a box.

    This really makes me want to organize a huge push for volunteers to go feed people in line. So we all get arrested for *feeding people* – that’s something I don’t mind having on my record and if hundreds of people get arrested for FEEDING PEOPLE I hope it embarrasses the sh!t out of Georgia.

    • Twin falls says:

      +1

    • Miranda says:

      I’ve been running my church’s food bank (which we’ve actually nicknamed Loaves and Fishes) and meal delivery program for 5 years now. and I am seriously all about this idea.

    • badrockandroll says:

      The GOP is sanctimoniously stating that the law’s purpose is to prevent voters from being bribed with offers of food & drink. Can this law be circumvented by selling food and drink for a penny? Just not Dasani or SmartWater until CocaCola comes to its senses.
      Although I am all confused about boycotts – boycotting Delta is easy because it will be years until I am comfy on a plane again. Boycotting Coke is harder because I don’t care for Pepsi, but that makes my consumer action meaningful to me. But then I thought that the first persons to suffer will be the those that are the lowest on the corporate ladder, and that is usually female BIPOC and I certainly don’t want to hurt them – thoughts?

  17. Nina Simone says:

    I’m so sickened by this. It’s very disheartening. Is the fight never over?

  18. Marla Singer says:

    Never vote Republican EVER!!!!!!!

  19. Veronica S. says:

    We knew it was coming. As their demographics shrink, they’re going to have to grab power however they can, and generally that means voter suppression. They’re trying to change the courts here in Pennsylvania, too, since it flipped Democratic for the first time in over a hundred years about ten years ago, so they want to gerrymander that, too.

    This Democratic Congress needs to pass at least some form of voting rights legislation. They’re limited in terms of what the federal government can do, but there are some basic things they can pass that would tie the hands of state congresses from doing worse than they already are.

  20. Chicken says:

    Georgian here, and Park Cannon is my representative in the house. I am ENRAGED that she was arrested. i have spoken with her many times, she works her tail off, attends every little neighborhood meeting to keep us up to date on what’s happening at the Capitol and to ask what we need. She is the epitome of public service, and they f*cking arrested her for wanting to watch (racist) legislation being signed. I will for sure be donating to the organizations Elias is representing, and figuring out how the hell I can fight back. As a native Georgian, this is mortifying.

  21. TeeBee says:

    I just wanted to say that it hurts my heart when things like this keep happening in a beautiful country with so much to offer its citizens, and yet with that freedom, that incredible privilege, corruption and power-grabbing is inevitable. But I do believe that this insidiousness is unsustainable in this changing world. Perhaps not in my lifetime, but people are not going to sit by and see their lives disregarded and discarded for the last gasps of this racist minority.

    I do not live in the US, but I do live in a province that has fallen under the spell of conservatism and also has a racist history. These stories just prompted me to make an ongoing donation to the New Democratic Party. I cannot just sit here and complain and worry about what is happening without making an effort to counter these attacks on democracy, especially when it is happening on my doorstep.

    Strength, my fellow Americans. May this blatant attack on your rights galvanize you all and keep you fighting. Peace.

  22. Rise_Above says:

    Brian looks tired and ugly. Poster child for cholesterol lowering medication with a ton of side effects.

  23. chimes@midnight says:

    Trump is trying his damnedest to make sure Kemp doesn’t get re-elected, right? Because he “allowed” Georgia to go blue? So the Patriot Party doesn’t want him in office, the democrats don’t want him in office……..

  24. Just A Thought says:

    Jim Crow never went away. The reasons Georgia and other Southern states has run-offs were designed to keep Blacks from being able to win statewide elections. In 2020 it backfired in there faces. They didn’t think that Pastor Warnock and Jon Ossoff could win both of them races. They thought the people would not show up to vote in January election. It were a surprise to the Republicans that they lose both of them seats. So the Republicans especially in the South had to do something about it. This is about Republicans retaining power at all cost. Trust me, the Republicans does not care about democracy. They only care about power. Now it time for the people who can votes in the states of West Virginia and AZ. To calls your senators Manuchin and Sinema. Let them that the John Lewis Voting Bills has to be passed. The right to block voting is happen in 42 states. Manuchin and Sinema has made it known that they will NOT DUE AWAY WITH FILLBUSTER. Dems only have 50 seats. In this case the FILLBUSTER has to go. Those 2 Democrats senators are against doing anything about the Filibuster. Please vote in every LOCAL and STATE elections it matters more than you think.