"Georgia Republicans have proposed a fresh round of measures to increase voter suppression and limit participation. Hiding under the guise of making sure “legal” votes count, Republican lawmakers want to eliminate automatic voter registration and restrict who can vote with absentee ballots." - News2
NAACP Atlanta and Reclaim Our Vote are organizing outraged citizens to express their opposition to these bills. This blog explains proposed bills, the technologies being used to organize the resistance and the long, sad history of Jim Crow laws used to suppress Black voters.
Mobilizing resistance against new voter suppression scheme
"The Georgia Senate has introduced 9 new voter suppression bills determined to make it difficult to vote by mail or vote in a runoff election. In a single legislative session they have attacked “no excuse” absentee voting, banned the use of dropboxes and now require voters to submit their photo ID upon requesting the absentee ballot and submitting the ballot. This unprecedented attack is led by the following Republican Georgia Senators: Jeff Mullis, Billy Hickman, Brandon Beach, Bruce Thompson, Butch Miller, Larry Walker III, Max Burns, Sheila McNeill, Steve Gooch and Tyler Harper. Senator Mullis is the primary sponsor of seven of these horrendous bills." - Andrea Miller, Reclaim Our Votes.
Republicans propose bills to suppress voters
"Our democracy works best when all eligible voters can participate and have their voices heard. In the General Election 1.3 million Georgians used absentee ballots, resulting in historic voter turnout. No excuse absentee voting provided an opportunity to level the playing field and make voting safer for all Georgians, especially in the midst of a pandemic. GOP State Senators introduced nine bills focused on promoting voter suppression by ending at-will absentee voting and more. These restrictions would suppress voter turnout and disenfranchise thousands of Georgia voters." - ROV
SB 29 - Requires two sets of Photo ID to vote absentee
SB 67 - Requires voter ID to request an absentee ballot
SB 68 - Bans all drop boxes
SB 69 - Ends automatic voter registration
SB 70 - Prohibits new Georgia voters from voting in runoff elections
SB 71 - Ends NO-EXCUSE absentee voting
SB 73 - Bans non-profits from mailing absentee ballot applications
Mobilizing against new Georgia voter suppression scheme
Andrea Miller with Reclaim Our Vote and Ray McClendon with NAACP Atlanta are mobilizing outraged citizens to tell these Senators that they oppose their proposed bills to suppress voters in Georgia. The voter mobilization takes place on several fronts:
Petitions - Action Network
Emails / tweets / calls - Ignite Advocacy
Texting - Text Per Cent
Advocate & Donor Engagement - Policy Engage
This is how Reclaim Our Vote and NAACP Atlanta are framing the issue and asking volunteers to help in the fight against voter suppression:
"Your voting rights are under assault. Tell your Senator that you oppose all Jim Crow voter suppression attempts and ask them to support your right to vote.
No Excuse Absentee Voting has been around since 2005; Georgia has offered automatic voter registration since 2016. Over 5 million voters have used automatic voter registration since 2016. Our goal should be the protection of the fundamental right to vote for all citizens by assuring that voting is as easy and as convenient as possible. As a Georgia voter, I hope we can count on you by ensuring that our voices are heard.
Email, Tweet and/or Call your Georgia Senator now!
If you don’t live in Georgia, you can still help! We must stop these bills from passing in Georgia.
Our partners at the Atlanta NAACP are working to make sure Georgia voters are aware of this new assault on our voting rights. We need everyone who supports fair elections and the right to vote to share this action with everyone you know in Georgia. We have setup phonebanks to call rural voters (and especially voters who voted absentee) to let them know. We need volunteers.
Signup here to make calls to Georgia voters.
Make sure every Georgia voter contacts their Senators and tells them to just vote “No” on voter suppression. You can email, Tweet or call here." - Reclaim Our Vote
What are Jim Crow laws?
"Jim Crow laws were a collection of state and local statutes that legalized racial segregation. Named after a Black minstrel show character, the laws—which existed for about 100 years, from the post-Civil War era until 1968—were meant to marginalize African Americans by denying them the right to vote, hold jobs, get an education or other opportunities. Those who attempted to defy Jim Crow laws often faced arrest, fines, jail sentences, violence and death.
Black codes were strict local and state laws that detailed when, where and how formerly enslaved people could work, and for how much compensation. The codes appeared throughout the South as a legal way to put Black citizens into indentured servitude, to take voting rights away, to control where they lived and how they traveled and to seize children for labor purposes." - History.com
Systemic Black voter suppression
"To stop the black political threat, blacks were “disenfranchised,” or not allowed to vote. Lack of voting power made blacks unable to remove elected officials they did not like. It also made them easy targets for politicians who wanted to distract the white voters’ attention from unfair taxes and corrupt governments." - America's Black Holocaust Museum
"Sometimes White officials in the Jim Crow South didn't bother with subtlety. They simply wiped Blacks from voting rolls. People would arrive at the polls to discover they were no longer registered to vote and could not re-register until after the election. Georgia has also been heavily criticized for its voting purges. The state, which has a large Black population, is considered a swing state in this presidential election. In 2017, a year before what would be a highly contested gubernatorial election, Georgia passed a law that said voters' names on registration records must "perfectly match" their names on approved forms of identification. About 80% of Georgia voters whose registrations were blocked by this law were people of color." - CNN
Robert's Supreme Court guts voting rights
"Chief Justice John Roberts said in the decision that the Jim Crow voter-suppression tactics which made the Voting Rights Act necessary did not exist any longer. The high court ruled that states with a history of voter racial discrimination no longer had to "preclear" any voting changes through the federal government. Brooker, a political scientist, says Roberts' Shelby decision was a textbook example of the high court refusing to see what was in front of them - states passing voter ID laws designed to dilute the Black vote" - CNN
"It just seems to be a willful ignorance of everything," he says. "The same day of the Shelby decision, Texas changed to voter ID. It didn't even wait until the sun went down."Since the Shelby decision, several Republican officials have acknowledged that voter ID laws suppress Democratic voters. Trump recently said that if voting was made easier, it would hurt the Republican Party.
Democracy works best when all eligible voters can participate.
Use technology to quickly mobilize citizens to fight voter suppression.
Support the NAACP Atlanta and Reclaim Our Vote campaign for fair voting in Georgia.
Image Credits: Smithsonian / Spider Martin, Senate.GA.gov, Noun Project