The wrong people voted. That seems to be the general consensus among Georgia Republicans, because despite repeatedly claiming that elections were safe and secure in the state, they still decided to pass a restrictive voting bill in the state House.
According to AJC, House Bill 531 was passed largely along partisan lines in a 97-72 vote. The bill would introduce sweeping restrictions to voting in the state, including ending weekend early voting, requiring photo ID to vote, preventing free food and drink from being distributed in voting lines, and restricting ballot drop boxes.
“Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly are trying to change the rules of the election here in Georgia, rules that you wrote, because you were handed defeat,” State Rep. Kimberly Alexander, a Democrat, said during a two-hour debate over the bill. “You know that your only chance of winning future elections is to prevent Georgians from having their votes counted and their voices heard.”
House Democrats argued that these rules make voting more restrictive and will disproportionately affect Black and underprivileged communities. House Republicans, on the other hand, already knew this and that’s exactly why they passed the bill.
Well, they won’t say that part out loud, because hypocrites are rarely capable of honesty, but I’m hard pressed to see how an argument could be made that restricting people from giving out free food and drink to folks waiting in long voting lines somehow makes elections more secure.
Granted, I could totally see Georgia governor and noted election thief Brian Kemp going on TV yelling, “The scourge of food trucks is single handedly undermining American democracy!”
The bill will now go to the state Senate where—believe it or not—there’s more voting rights fuckery to be found. On Monday, the Senate Ethics Committee voted to pass a measure that would end no-excuse early voting, preventing anyone under the age 65 who doesn’t have a physical disability from requesting an early mail-in ballot.
All of these efforts are said by state Republicans to address concerns from election security that stem from the lies that both the former president and GOP spread about election security during the last election. Essentially, their reasoning is “we screwed things up, so we might as well go ahead and screw them up some more while we’re here.”
These blatant efforts at voter suppression have not gone unnoticed by Georgia voters, many of whom gathered outside the state Capitol to protest the proposed measures.
“We have proven again and again that our election was fair and not compromised, so why are they trying to reduce voting rights? I don’t get it,” Melissa McCollum, one of the protesters, told AJC.
“This bill is going against all the accessibility that makes voting possible by removing absentee and early voting hours,” Regine Shabazz, another protester, told AJC.
Of course, Georgia Republicans aren’t the only ones in the country who believe they should determine who does and doesn’t get to exercise their constitutional rights. The Brenner Center for Justice estimates that there are over 250 bills being considered in 43 states that would make voting laws more restrictive, and create more obstacles for going to the polls.