I am deeply concerned today that your rights as a voter are being attacked. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp privately signed Senate Law No. 202 on March 25, 2021. The constitution states that states cannot pass laws that restrict your right to vote. We claim that the bill restricts your voting rights, which goes against your constitutional rights due to several constitutional amendments. Republican voters and Democratic voters are affected by SB 202. Don’t make a mistake. This new law affects everyone. We live in America, in a democracy, and democracy is under attack.
Senate Law 202 (SB 202) was passed in Georgia on March 25, 2021. You may be asking, “Why should I care about SB 202?” Here’s why:
The unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud in Georgia are simply a “big lie” or misinformation.
Your right to vote is now restricted regardless of your political affiliation.
If you have two jobs and cannot vote on election day, your access to a ballot box will be restricted.
The new law states that counties may only have one (1) Dropbox per 100,000 active registered voters in the county, disenfranchising voters who live near the county’s borders. According to Census.gov, Liberty County has 61,435 residents and only 44,048 of those citizens are 18 years of age or older. According to the Georgian Foreign Minister’s Office (Georgian Foreign Minister, 2021), Liberty County only has 37,695 active registered voters.
If you cannot hand in your postal ballot paper at your polling station during normal business hours, you cannot use a postal ballot box.
If you are a student, your access to voting is restricted
If you don’t have a government issued ID, your postal vote request will not be approved without submitting documents that could expose you to identity theft.
If you are in line to vote in the hot Georgian sun, elderly, disabled, diabetic, dehydrated, hypoglycemic, or otherwise dependent on food or drink, it is now illegal for anyone to give you food or drink (except an election worker)
Any registered voter can question YOUR (and an unlimited number of other voters) eligibility to vote, which can result in YOU being removed from the electoral roll.
The bill drastically reduces the number of pre-election days for runoff elections
SB 202 removes power from the elected foreign minister and enables state officials (political representatives) to take over the electoral boards of the district.
Georgia SB 202 is not an electoral security law, as Governor Brian Kemp stated on March 26 when he was interviewed by the news media in Waycross, Georgia. There is no evidence that Georgia’s elections are unsafe, as evidenced by the legal outcome of more than 60 lawsuits filed by the former president and GOP lawmakers during the 2020 election season. Governor Kemp and several Republican lawmakers have claimed that this new law will help restore voter confidence. Well, there is no credible evidence that the confidence of Georgian voters has been weakened. So what had to be stated in the Georgia electoral law? Nothing. Amid a pandemic, Georgia had the largest turnout in its history in 2020.
Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the 2020 elections were fair and Georgia had “safe, honest elections,” according to several widespread television and print media interviews. This statement has been repeatedly confirmed by the deputy electoral officer, judges who ruled unsubstantiated claims by the former president, and several political analysts who examined the data.
Many Liberty County Democrats, including myself, participated in the second and third recounts of the presidential election, which were held with Republican counterparts, and we noted and agreed (verbally and in writing when required) that there was no evidence of fraud or there was an error in voting. Postal ballot boxes were monitored by surveillance cameras and administered under strict voting rules. Our local electoral officials, the Liberty County Electoral Bureau, and Republican and Democratic Party officials have had fair and equal access to watch our electoral process, and there is no need to restrict the voting rights of so many of our citizens. Liberty County’s electoral officials have done an excellent job managing and processing our 2020 elections, and we do not find it appropriate for a political officer to direct our county’s electoral process.
There is a long and tremendous history of some right-wing politicians trying to restrict the voting rights of women, colored people, students, the poor and uneducated voters. From the election taxes of 1877 to the civil rights movement of the 1960s to gerrymandering, the repression of voters in 2018 and attempts in 2020, there have been deliberate attempts to restrict certain voters’ access to the ballot box. Why? Let’s look at the last four years:
Could it be that the audacity of the historic 2018 gubernatorial candidacy of Stacey Abrams, a black woman, came a little too close to success?
Could Joe Biden, a Democrat, and Kamala Harris, a black and Asian woman, defeat two white male Republicans for the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the United States in 2020?
Could it be that the racist former president’s supporters still believe in the “big lie” that the presidential election was stolen?
Could it be that Georgian officials were threatened by the former president?
Could it be that the former President of the United States has declared war on Democrats and Georgia and that SB 202 is the “conciliatory white flag”?
Could it be that Georgia had the highest turnout among young people and that 70 percent of all young people said they voted early or absent in the 2020 general election?
Or could two Democrats, Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, an African American, and Jon Ossoff, a Jew, defeated two white Republicans in the US Senate to create a Democratic Congressional majority?
Could it be that the January 6, 2021 uprising didn’t stop the U.S. Congress from fulfilling its duties?
Could it be that Georgia State Representative Park Cannon, a black woman who had the idea that the signing of a massive electoral law should be witnessed by an elected representative, was somehow wrong and that they will be “punished” with two crimes should charges for knocking on the governor’s door?
Could it be that a historical number of women have run or are currently running for elected office and they / we are not staying “in our place”?
Could it be that Democrats, young voters, women and people of color are using their votes and votes to protest against racial injustice, criminal justice reform, climate change, women’s rights, corruption or insurrection?
Or is it just the establishment of racism, alterism, sexism, wealth and power that want to keep us from voting?
I could go on, but here’s the point. Over 200,000 Georgians do not have a driver’s license and therefore could not vote absent. Many of our voters are elderly, disabled, students, poor or otherwise logistically disadvantaged when it comes to the ballot box.
So that we understand each other. Not only is this un-American, but Jim Crow 3.0 too! Getting a governor to sign a controversial electoral law among a group of all-white men in front of a photo of a plantation, private (only streamed live), says it all. For too long women, poor people, people of color and the uneducated have been discriminated against, marginalized and dismissed, and we reject this. History will not be kind to Georgia Republican lawmakers who trample our democracy.
Our democratic platform says: “… We have to steel and strengthen our democracy, not distort and devalue it. Democrats believe that the voices and votes of the American people have nothing to fear. We will restore the full force of the suffrage law and eradicate oppression of voters in all its forms… ”SB 202 will not stand and we will not return to the annals of history tainted by Jim Crow’s laws. We’re Americans, and we, the Liberty County’s Democratic Committee, are going to fight it!
W. Renea Camper, MBA, Chair
Liberty County Democratic Committee