By Quentin Choy
March 29, 2021
Following crucial losses at the presidential level and at the Senate level, Georgia Republicans including Governor Brian Kemp have taken archaic measures to prevent any losses like they saw last election cycle from ever happening again. The measures that they have passed are undemocratic in the most blatant sense, and their intentions are “clear as moonlight through the pines.”
Never having gone blue since 1992 at the presidential level, Joe Biden’s victory in the state over Donald Trump was a crucial upset and was instrumental in his electoral college victory. In 2021, the two Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue lost runoff elections to Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State asking for “11,780 votes” was a clear example as to how shocking Georgia’s blue vote was to the Republican Party.
Much of the presidential and senate victories for the Democrats in Georgia were attributed to the efforts of former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and her efforts in increasing voter turnout through voter registration and reaching out to black voters in the state.
The bill, which was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp passed with votes of 34-20 in the Georgia Senate and 100-75 in the Georgia House, along party lines.
“Significant reforms to our state elections were needed. There’s no doubt there were many alarming issues with how the election was handled, and those problems, understandably, led to a crisis of confidence in the ballot box here in Georgia.”Georgia Governor Brian Kemp
The quote by Governor Kemp after signing the bill demonstrates how shaken the Republicans are that they lost such key races in a red state and how far they are willing to go to prevent such losses again. The “crisis of confidence in the ballot box” is Kemp’s way of saying that he is disappointed in GOP voters not turning out to vote, especially after Donald Trump’s claims over a “fraudulent election” discouraged some Republican voters from voting in the runoff elections, believing that if they did, the election was rigged, and their vote wouldn’t matter anyways.
The bill reduces early voting periods for runoff elections from three weeks to one week, limiting the availability of ballot drop boxes, and allows the State Election Board to intervene in county election boards that it deems necessary, which many fear could allow Republicans to be the deciders of which votes are valid and which are not. The distribution of food and drinks to voters standing in line is also prohibited.
The only reason that food and drink distribution is included in the bill is because these Georgia Republicans know that if they limit the number of voting stations and ballot drop-boxes while simultaneously decreasing the amount of time for early voting and amping up voter ID laws, voters of color and the poor, who often support Democrats will be discouraged from standing in long lines. Many poor voters and voters of color cannot make it to a polling place on a weekday when elections are usually held. These laws will decrease the turnout of these voters and likely squeeze them out of the Georgian political system altogether, coasting Republicans to victory and blocking any chances of future Democratic victories.
State Rep. Park Cannon (D-Atlanta) was arrested at the Georgia State Capitol after knocking on Governor Kemp’s office as he privately signed the bill, wanting to go in and see the destruction of democracy take place in real time. Seeing the arrest of an elected official trying to observe an attack on democracy juxtaposed with the scenes at the Capitol insurrection on January 6th show the partisan split and the double-standard on democracy and who it includes in this country.
Where un-American cultists went as far as to desecrate the American symbol of democracy to halt the certification of an election outcome they didn’t like, the “patriots” were arrested slowly and were praised by the former president. Where an elected official peacefully knocks on the governor’s door to witness his cruel acts against American democracy, she is instantly arrested and taken away. There are two Americas, and in Georgia, it seems like an unraveling, a rewind back to the era of voter discrimination, Jim Crow, disenfranchisement and back to a pre-Civil Rights Act Georgia that its voters know all too well.
Image Courtesy of Politico.