Lawmakers in the state of Georgia recently passed a state election law brought by republicans. The bill passed due to the critics who protested outside the capital. The law passed possesses new election restrictions to the citizens voting either by mail or the greater legislative misunderstanding of the elections. One reason for changing the election bill when asked state representative Alan Powel said they were looking at a broken system. He added that an influx in ballots’ absenteeism in the 2020 elections proved the systems that were being used needed to be changed. The support for this statement was that Georgia election systems were not intended to handle such large amounts of votes. It is essential to look into the reasons why the state had to change the laws and how they affected the people of color.
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The democrats and voting rights groups denounced the law citing that the country’s republican-controlled legislature has the most widespread incongruity of ballot access ever experienced. The passed bill introduced firmer voter identification documents for absentee balloting, giving power to the legislature over voting, limiting drop boxes, and discouraging volunteers from providing food and drinks to voters (Panetta). Such efforts have been condemned by the democrats and voting rights groups claiming they are biased to voters of color. Democrats claim that even though equal rights are advocated for everyone by the government, the legislature is taking matters into its own hands. Taking control makes it hard for the black population to access the right to vote with the new laws. The black population was crucial for President Biden’s win in Georgia, and this win brought the need to change the voting laws. Even though the law seems hard for people of color, it does not include some restrictions that were proposed. They involve a ban on Sunday voting, which was viewed as a mission to curtail the black churches in pushing for the turnout. Also, there was no excuse for absentee voting; hence, voters would not cast their vote by email. Though, they will bear a state-issued identification card that will allow them to access the voting emails.
Georgia decided to change the voting laws due to the defeat of former state president Donald Trump. After the election results were announced, the president strongly criticized the governor for not backing the efforts to subvert the results. There have been arguments that the bill was based on political grounds and had nothing to do with the people of color (Corasaniti). During his tenure as president, it is said that Trump pressured the election officials to “find” him votes while twisting lies and conspiracy theories about electoral fraud in their systems. After the results did not meet the former presidents’ expectations, lawmakers were assured of presenting new legislation to restore confidence in the election process. They termed it even though the last one was fair and secure. Voters protested against the change by calling for a boycott of major corporations like Coca-Cola that remained silent during the push.
Religious leaders took part in organizing meetings with the committee tasked with the electoral process change, and their efforts were futile when the consultation did not happen. Later, Methodist Bishop Reginald Jackson gave his view on the change claiming it was not a voter suppression bill but an act that violated the people of color’s rights. Religious leaders are on the frontline in every state in the United States to fight for equal rights for minority groups. Still, without the support of the government, their views cannot be implemented.
Jim Crow laws were established to enforce racial segregation in some provinces in the United States. The above scenario repeats itself in Georgia, where they are changing laws that look neutral but are designed to target minority voting. It is now a crime punishable by law to give a voter in line a bottle of water or a snack. It is well known that in this state, there are long-hour line queues in black and brown communities. With this effect, these people will be more affected than the white race. In Fulton county, mobile voting assisted the black community in easing the voting exercise due to the dense population that has now been made illegal. These laws will affect the minority voters in the state, impacting their right to vote (Richards). Changing these laws gave the legislators some right to tamper with the votes to alter and give the wrong results. Against the people’s will, the republicans are enforcing these bills to claw back to power even after defeat. The introduction of the state identification or a license would not favor a minority voter as only a few individuals possess these documents in Atlanta. The residents were not pleased by the changes and acted demonstrating to express their frustrations with the systems.
The current president of the United States of America joined democrats in criticizing efforts to limit voting rights claiming every citizen is entitled to equal rights regardless of color. Reporters and celebrities were dissatisfied with the bill’s passing and they took social media platforms by storm in expressing their disappointments. Some claimed it was uncouth and uncalled to change the rules because one has lost in an election.
Corasaniti, N. “Georgia G.O.P. Passes Major Law to Limit Voting Amid Nationwide Push.” The New York Times, 2021, Web.
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Panetta, G. “Georgia Governor Signs Sweeping Election Reform Bill That Will Expand Early Voting and Make IDs Required for Absentee Ballots.” Business Insider., 2021. Web.
Richards, D. “Gov. Kemp Signs Controversial GOP Elections Bill into Law.” 11Alive.com. 2021. Web.