Pines, whose client list includes ex-DeKalb sheriff Jeffrey Mann and Garret Rolfe, the laid-off Atlanta police officer who was charged with the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks last summer, estimates the group’s fellow attorneys are around 300. One said in a post that he was ready to be arrested for violating the new law.
“I would be ABSOLUTELY ready to be arrested while doing this,” wrote Robert S. Bexley, partner at Bexley & DeLoach LLC in Gwinnett County, on the social media page of the group Don’t Look A Bit Like a Lawyer on March 29 (Septum -Piercing and full sleeve tattoos). I have a couple of good problems. “
Proponents of the Republican-backed legislation argue that it restores the integrity of the electoral system. But Senate 202 bill has sparked the conviction of voting proxies across the country. They say it will disproportionately hit minority voters in large urban areas.
A way to influence voters?
Two of Atlanta’s largest and most influential corporations denounced Senate Bill 202 last week after threatening boycotts for not opposing it. President Joe Biden called it Jim Crow for steroids, and last Friday Major League Baseball moved its all-star game out of the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park in Cobb County out of concern for the law.
Particularly controversial is the provision that makes it a crime for non-electoral workers to provide food and water to voters in elections. In a news release earlier this week, Gwinnett County’s attorney Brian Whiteside said it had “no rational legal basis” and pledged not to pursue quotes issued under that law.
But the first test of the law could take place well outside of Metro Atlanta.
While parts of the legislation did not apply until July 1, the rest of the legislation, including the provision of food and water, apparently went into effect on March 25, with the approval of the governor, according to the bill.
Members of the Facebook group have identified three rural Georgia counties, Whitfield, Lamar and Brantley, for which special elections are scheduled for April 13th. Whitfield is part of the United States Bureau’s Chattanooga-Cleveland-Dalton combined statistical area. It has a population of over 100,000. Counties Lamar and Brantley each have about 20,000 residents and are southeast of Atlanta.
“I didn’t see anything that would give me a break from prosecuting anything in what was presented,” Jonathan Adams, district attorney for the Towaliga Judicial Circuit in northern Georgia, which includes Lamar County, told the on Wednesday Constitution of the Atlanta Journal.
Lamar voters will elect a new judge next week.
Adams said lawmakers’ intent is to prevent campaigns from using food and drink at the last minute to influence voters and not get voters to give up their civil rights because they are hungry and thirsty. The prosecution’s discretion would come into play in considering whether to pursue charges based on quotes forwarded to his office, he said.
But Pines said Senate reads Bill 202 as if it forbids him to give his wife a drink of water from his water bottle at a polling station.
Pines remembered the last time he chose it was a warm day. He was standing in front of a polling center in Fulton County. The line moved slowly. He watched people get frustrated.
“That’s what you don’t want,” he said.