Georgia's Anti-Voter Law Will Move Us Backward

A woman walks by a sign that says "Vote Here".
A voter heads to the polls at Gracelife Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia on November 3, 2020. Photo by Michael A. Schwarz

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed an omnibus bill into law on March 25, 2021 that will make sweeping changes to the state’s election procedures, making it significantly harder to vote following record turnout in the 2020 elections.

Campaign Legal Center (CLC) is among the co-counsel representing FairFight Action in FairFight Action v. Raffensperger, a broad case addressing many existing deficiencies in Georgia’s electoral system on behalf of Georgia voters. CLC will continue to fight on behalf of Georgia voters, even as new burdens have been imposed.

The brazen power grab on display in Georgia is an attempt by politicians to cherry-pick their voters, making it more difficult for communities of color to exercise their freedom to vote. Georgia’s legislative push is part of a nationwide backlash responding to the multiracial coalition that voted in record numbers in 2020.

This anti-voter trend should alarm the entire nation at a time when the federal court system has chipped away at legal protections for voters that have historically faced voting discrimination.

The law, S.B. 202, would allow a state takeover of county election boards and permit partisan poll watchers to launch unlimited challenges to voter eligibility.

It will also restrict access to ballot drop boxes and make it a crime for volunteers to pass out food and water to voters waiting in line at voting centers. Gaylon Tootle, an Augusta, Georgia disability rights advocate, recently described the attitude behind this provision as “a mean-spirited, Southern plantation style mentality.”

S.B. 202 would also allow the state to relocate polling places just 60 days before an election and toss out the ballots of confused voters who show up to the wrong polling place as a result.

Our democracy works best when everyone can participate. Georgia lawmakers should not be making it more difficult for people to exercise their fundamental right to vote at this critical moment.

Corey handles media relations for the CLC voting rights and redistricting teams and creates online content. Follow @cgfromdc on Twitter
Georgia Lawmakers Restrict Access to Voting