Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp received backlash on Thursday after signing an election reform bill that many have dubbed “Jim Crow 2.0.”
The GOP-backed legislation is an overhaul of the state’s election laws, and includes a series of provisions that significantly limit voter access. Though the law will expand early voting for primary and general elections, it reduces the time to request absentee ballots, restricts the use of ballot drop boxes, and adds a photo ID requirement for those who vote by mail. The bill was signed into law after Georgia Republicans suffered major Senate losses back in January, when Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won statewide runoff elections. According to the Associated Press, about 1.3 million Georgians used the vote-by-mail option during the pandemic.
GOP lawmakers say the overhaul will restore confidence in Georgia’s election process—a concern Republicans repeatedly expressed after Donald Trump’s baseless voter fraud claims.
“This so-called Election Intergrity Act of 2021 is lacking one major thing – Integrity,” state Rep. Carolyn Hugley tweeted Thursday. “Let’s be clear #SB202 is a partisan power grab in response to an electoral defeat in the 2020 election cycle where Black & Brown Georgians made their voices heard & their power known. We will not stand idly by & watch Jim Crow 2.0 roll back the clock on our new Georgia.”
State Rep. Park Cannon was also among the Democratic leaders who expressed opposition to the law. Cannon was one of several protestors who gathered outside Kemp’s chamber as he was signing the election reform bill. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cannon knocked on Kemp’s door, stating the public had the right to witness the announcement of the signing. Video showed the representative being arrested and removed from the Georgia Capitol. CNN reports Cannon was booked on felony obstruction charges.
“We are getting her out of jail currently,” Cannon’s attorney, Gerald Griggs, told CNN. “We are gathering information on the case as well. There are multiple videos and we are in contact with the DA.”