WASHINGTON, D.C. – State lawmakers in Georgia have quickly raced to the forefront of the Republican party’s effort to turn ‘stolen election’ conspiracies into extremely restrictive voter suppression laws. This week, Georgia legislators passed a bill to repeal no-excuse absentee voting and end automatic voter registration—provisions that helped 1.3 million voters in Georgia cast ballots in 2020, and registered over 65% of the state’s registered voters.
Former President Jimmy Carter, along with civil rights and voting rights advocates are sounding the alarm, emphasizing the detrimental impacts these bills will have on communities of color if they are signed into law.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in Arizona have introduced 24 bills restricting voting rights since January. Following widespread criticism from civil rights and voting rights advocates, State Representative John Kavanagh defended the legislation because he believes “Everybody shouldn’t be voting.” Arizona’s State Attorney General is already defending existing voter suppression laws in the state in front of the Supreme Court this month, following a Ninth Circuit Court ruling that deemed them discriminatory, citing the fact that they make it harder for people of color to vote.
Amid the mounting assaults being waged against voting rights by Republican lawmakers in Georgia, Arizona, and 41 other states, support for the For the People Act—groundbreaking legislation led by Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY)—continues to grow among advocacy groups and the American people.
Here’s what they’re saying:
…”We know that their targets are Black voters,” said Cliff Albright, co-founder of the Atlanta-based Black Voters Matter. “These (legislation) notes are dripping in the blood of Jim Crow.”
Black Voters Matter, the Georgia NAACP, the New Georgia Project and other civil rights groups are now in a battle to protect Black voting power, launching a campaign this week to stop the voter restrictions from moving forward.
They are also demanding that Congress pass federal voting rights legislation that would roll back the state-level laws.
On Wednesday, the House took a step toward that by passing HR 1, also known as the For the People Act, which is a sweeping ethics and election bill that expands voting access… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
Why the Georgia G.O.P.’s Voting Rollbacks Would Hit Black People Hard (Richard Fausset, Nick Corasaniti, and Mark Leibovich, The New York Times)
…Voting rights groups note that the severe limitations put on early voting could also have a cascading effect: By limiting the number of hours available for in-person voting, the bottlenecks created during high-volume times and on Election Day would very likely lead to more hourslong lines, like the waits that plagued the Georgia primary in June.
“They’re creating a line management problem,” said Aunna Dennis, the executive director of Common Cause Georgia, a voting rights group. In the primary, she noted, “we saw people in line for over six hours. Just imagine if we were losing 108 hours of early voting time, of Sunday voting, access to the drop box, how many of those people are now going to have to wait in line?” CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
Jimmy Carter is ‘disheartened, saddened and angry’ by the G.O.P. push to curb voting rights in Georgia. (Nick Corasaniti and Glenn Thrush, The New York Times)
Former President Jimmy Carter — a one-term Georgia governor who first ran for office in the 1960s — said efforts by Republicans in the state to restrict ballot access represented an attempt to “turn back the clock” on hard-won progress in empowering disenfranchised voters.
“I am disheartened, saddened and angry,” Mr. Carter wrote in a statement released by his charitable foundation on Tuesday, a day after the Republican-controlled State Senate approved a bill repealing no-excuse absentee voting.
“American democracy means every eligible person has the right to vote in an election that is fair, open and secure,” Mr. Carter, 96, wrote.
“We must not lose the progress we have made. We must not promote confidence among one segment of the electorate by restricting the participation of others. Our goal always should be to increase, not decrease, voter participation.” CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
“Everybody Shouldn’t Be Voting” Says GOP Lawmaker Pushing Voter Suppression Laws (Sharon Shang, Truthout)
…Nevertheless, the Brennan Center’s February analysis of voter suppression bills across the country found that Arizona led the country in proposed bills that make it harder to vote — though, with bills filed since then, Georgia may be giving Arizona a run for its money. Georgia and Arizona are particular targets for Republicans since they surprisingly voted blue on Election Day last November, leading to the GOP losing control of Congress and the White House.
Many of the voter suppression efforts being waged by Republicans are almost explicitly racist. A bill that passed Georgia’s Senate last week, for instance, ends no-excuse absentee ballots in the state after Black voters turned out in droves with mail-in ballots. The state’s House has also passed legislation that severely limits early voting in the state on Sundays, which are typically huge days for Black voting due to church-led “souls to the polls” events… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
Opinion: For the People Act provides dire protection from baseless attacks on our right to vote (Greg Williams, The Tennessean)
…As of Feb. 24, the updated in-almost real-time Voting Rights Lab’s State Voting Rights Tracker reveals that the number now exceeds 250 bills.
Tennessee legislators have proposed 11 of their own. Each one intends to create at least one voting barrier, either by reducing?vote-by-mail and voter registration, imposing stricter voter-ID laws or allowing voter-roll purging.
They’re direct responses to the baseless weaponized lies claiming widespread voter fraud is real. Not one fragment of credible, empirical evidence shows that such fraud exists. Unsupported bits of isolated anecdotes are pointless….
Especially in communities of color and other historically disenfranchised populations, the “For the People Act” would reinforce voting rights. Other examples of those communities include college students, urbanites, people with disabilities, people with felony convictions, and older Americans… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
My Turn: Pass the For the People Act (Former State Senator Melanie Levesque, The Concord Monitor)
…Americans of all stripes fought long and hard for democracy, especially the right to vote. Yet just months after a national election with the highest level of voter participation in history – despite a pandemic – over 250 bills have been proposed by states, including New Hampshire, to suppress our right to vote.
Abraham Lincoln said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
We must heed Lincoln’s warning: To protect our democracy, our freedoms, and the integrity of our voting process, we must call Congress to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and pass the For the People Act… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
Letter of Endorsement for the For the People Act (Indivisible Oregon)
…Across the country, thousands of us worked hard to save our democracy in 2020. Despite all the roadblocks the GOP put in place, we elected new leaders to govern in our interests – and they are.
Republicans know that the only way to regain power is by suppressing our votes. They spread disinformation and pass state voter suppression laws. We must make meaningful change. This is why we [the undersigned below] endorse the For the People Act (HR-1/S-1).
A critical pillar of the For the People Act strengthens our voting systems, making it easier for eligible voters to register and cast ballots and protecting our ballots once cast. Every eligible American should be able to rely on a basic level of voting access in federal elections… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.