A new GOP-backed electoral law passed in Georgia this week makes it illegal to give food and water to voters.
ATLANTA – A new GOP-backed electoral law passed in Georgia this week has drawn national attention to profound changes in the state process. The 95-page bill makes it illegal to distribute food or water to queuing voters, and also requires dropboxing in every county in the state.
The response to Governor Brian Kemp’s signing of the law was quick, and federal lawsuits were filed almost immediately. However, proponents of the law claim that it expands electoral access in the state and protects the right to vote.
“It’s urgent. Our democracy is in a 911 emergency,” said Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock.
Warnock flew to Georgia late Thursday after the law was passed. He said the opposition to the law couldn’t wait.
“It’s anti-democratic, it’s un-American. They’re trying to make it harder for people to vote,” he said.
In a press conference on Friday, Warnock said it was disgruntled Republicans who had used unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud to enforce the bill.
“So are you going to make public policy based on a lie? Based on a feeling that things didn’t go the way it should have been? Let’s make public policy like this now,” he asked.
But Gabriel Sterling of the Foreign Minister’s Office said both allegations of electoral fraud and voter suppression in Georgia were unfounded.
“The allegations of voter suppression are as false and morally offensive as the allegations of electoral fraud are false and morally offensive,” Sterling said. “Because it’s all about arming and challenging people’s trust in the electoral system.”
He defended the bill, saying it would help ensure that everyone has equal access to voting.
“We extended the early election days, they protected the Sunday election, they put Dropboxing into law for counties that never had it. There were 38 counties in the state that never had Dropboxing that are now being forced to have it” , he said .
Gov. Kemp said at the signing on Thursday evening, “Georgia will take one more step to ensure that our elections are safe, accessible and fair.”
The controversial measure also caught the President’s attention.
Kemp’s office issued a statement following President Joe Biden’s scathing comments calling the bill – and many other Republican bills proposed in other states – an “blatant attack on the Constitution and a clear conscience.” The president went a step further, painting Republicans’ legislative efforts to generate new, more restrictive losses after suffering defeat in the 2020 election cycle as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century”.
Denying the idea that the new measure resembled the “Jim Crow” laws, Kemp accused Biden and “the left”, as well as the national media, of being determined to “destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box.”
“The idea that this is voter suppression is ridiculous, but it is very important to Democrats because it is great for fundraising and creating anger among voters,” Sterling said.
The next statewide election for the state governor will take place in 2022.