Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp passed a bill that adds new restrictions to the voting process. Democrats believe that the bill disenfranchises Black voters.
“Georgians turned out in record-breaking numbers because they could access the ballot,” Rep. Rhonda Burnough said. “Lies upon lies were told about our elections in response, and now this bill is before us built on those same lies.”
The bill will require voters to present an ID in order to vote absentee by mail, limit where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed, as well as cutting the times that people have to request an absentee ballot and cutting the times at polling centers.
The 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.
Rep. Park Cannon was arrested by Georgia state troopers, while Gov. Kemp was live-streaming an announcement that he signed the bill into law. Cannon was knocking on the governor’s office door during the live stream. According to the Georgia State Patrol, Cannon was charged with obstruction of law enforcement and disrupting General Assembly sessions.
“She knew he was signing a bill that would affect all Georgians — why would he hide behind closed doors? This isn’t a monarchy,” Tamara Stevens, who was with Cannon, said. “You have a women [sic] of color fighting for the rights of Georgians and they arrested her for knocking on the door because she wanted to witness our governor sign the bill.”
“She was advised that she was disturbing what was going on inside and if she did not stop, she would be placed under arrest,” Lt. W. Mark Riley, GSP spokesman, said. “Rep. Cannon refused to stop knocking on the door.”
Gerald Griggs, the attorney who witnessed and recorded the incident, plans to represent Cannon in Court.
“I’m concerned that this happened,” Griggs said. “I’ll fight to get her released.”