Senate Democrats convey voting rights to Georgia

For the first time in 20 years, the Senate Rules Committee held an on-site hearing on Monday, this time in Atlanta, to discuss voting rights as the Democrats under the extensive legislation in Georgia – and in GOP-led legislatures across Georgia – Push the country for federal reform – what the Democrats argue will make it difficult for voters to cast their votes.

Senator Amy Klobuchar will host a Senate Order Committee field hearing on voting rights on July 19, 2021 at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta.

Witnesses included Senator Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., And state lawmakers and voters who would be affected by the law – which in part adds voter ID requirements and results in fewer mailboxes in the Atlanta area.

The witnesses who testified focused their anger on Senate Bill 202 (SB 202), a Georgia state bill passed in March that cuts the time between elections and runoffs, prohibits early voting on holidays, and does it for someone who is not an election worker to make a crime Give food or drink to anyone standing in line.

Senate Republican minority leader Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., In a statement that began Monday, criticized the hearing for “false hysteria.”

“This stupid ploy is based on the same lie as the Democrats’ false hysteria from Georgia to Texas to Washington DC and beyond – their efforts to pretend that moderate state electoral laws have more generous provisions on early voting than blue states like New York is a kind of evil attack on our democracy, “said the GOP leader.

PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after the weekly Senate lunch in the Capitol on July 13, 2021.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after the weekly Senate lunch in the Capitol on July 13, 2021.

But Warnock said Georgia was “ground zero” for the GOP’s efforts to suppress the vote.

“What we did in terms of turnout in Georgia in the last election should have been celebrated by everyone, regardless of political party. Instead, it has been attacked by cowardly politicians who are more committed than they are to maintaining their own power. “They serve to strengthen and maintain our democracy,” said Warnock.

Citing restrictions in Georgia’s new law, particularly how it would prohibit non-electoral workers from distributing water and people would challenge the votes of others, Warnock called for federal suffrage, emphasizing the urgency of these efforts: “We Americans live in a great house that built democracy. Right now this house is on fire. “

PHOTO: Senator Raphael Warnock speaks prior to a Senate committee hearing on voting rights on July 19, 2021 at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta.

Senator Raphael Warnock speaks prior to a Senate Order Committee hearing on voting rights at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, July 19, 2021.

Georgia State Representative Billy Mitchell also argued that SB 202 was moved too quickly to the governor’s desk by the Georgia legislature.

No Republicans were present at the hearing, but Georgia Republicans – including Governor Brian Kemp – criticized the event in a phone call to reporters later Monday morning.

“Today’s hearing is just the Democrats’ latest attempt to ignore the Washington, DC disaster and also really change the narrative that the state takeover of the S1 elections failed to achieve.” [the For the People Act voting rights bill] Senate or Congress happened, “Kemp said.

Klobuchar said Republicans were invited to join; Kemp said he was in a crime hearing during the voting hearing and that he does not think Klobuchar’s hearing is fair.

The hearing comes as Senate Democrats put pressure on their peers to work together to advance the stalled For the People Act, a massive package that would change federal elections, votes, and redistributions of Congress that the House of Representatives passed in March.

Democrats argue that legislators need to act more urgently on electoral legislation, even after the US Supreme Court ruled last month to uphold electoral restrictions in Arizona, which Democrats and electoral supporters have labeled racially discriminatory.

The hearing on Monday is also taking place in Washington at a busy time.

PHOTO: People hold signs in front of the Supreme Court, July 19, 2021, in Washington, DC

People hold signs outside the Supreme Court on July 19, 2021, in Washington, DC

Both houses of Congress convened Monday when Democrats in the Texas Legislature took port in the capital for a second week to prevent Republicans in Austin from taking up the proposals in a special legislative session. While they were planning to bring the voting legislation up the hill, five members tested positive for COVID-19.

And just days after Black Caucus Congress leader Joyce Beatty was arrested along with other activists at a civil disobedience demonstration on Capitol Hill, the rally added “Women’s Moral Monday March on Washington,” by the Women’s The March and Poor People Campaign was organized to cast their votes with a demonstration in front of the Supreme Court on Monday.

The group called for Congress to take action on issues such as ending filibusters and expanding voting rights.

Sixteen states have passed 28 laws that would restrict electoral access, out of hundreds put in place across the country, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

ABC News’ Libby Cathey and Trish Turner contributed to this report.