FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Adam Sweat,
Voting Rights Advocates Primed to Continue Battle Against Voter Suppression
April 1, 2021 (ATLANTA, GA) – Since the legislative session began on January 11th, Republican members of both the state House and Senate have aggressively pursued an agenda to fundamentally change voting rights in the state of Georgia. With more than twelve bills successfully passed, including the omnibus Senate Bill 202 which has totally upended elections administration in the state, there was a clear pattern at play: the most vulnerable residents of our state are being inappropriately targeted by voter suppression laws, says the Election Administration Coalition.
“Georgia voters proved this election cycle that when voting is made more convenient and accessible, they are willing and able to fully participate in the process,” said Helen Butler, Executive Director of the Coalition for the People’s Agenda. “More than 5 million people turned out for the general election and 4.5 million for the U.S. Senate runoffs in the middle of a pandemic expressly because things like vote by mail and the use of dropboxes and extended early voting hours made the process more user friendly. The current effort to rollback voting accessibility is an affront to our democratic process.”
Now that Governor Kemp has signed into law legislation that fundamentally alters the course of voting in the state of Georgia, the Election Administration Coalition is turning its eye toward increased voter education efforts and supporting the lawsuits that have been filed in opposition to the bills passed this session. “Governor Kemp and the legislature have sent a clear signal that their greatest interest is in advancing partisan outcomes rather than increasing democratic participation across the state,” said Malika Redmond, Executive Director of Women Engaged. “Now more than ever, as we continue to grapple with the realities of COVID-19, we need a process in place that will ensure increased opportunity to participate in the democratic process through voting. We have a long road ahead, but we will not be deterred. The people of Georgia deserve better and we stand ready to defend and protect the voting rights of our state’s residents”
Senate Bill 202 along with other voter suppression legislation passed this session does everything from curtail the use of dropboxes to increasing requirements for voter identification and limiting the window during which eligible voters can both register to vote and cast their ballots. Disproportionately, those impacted by this legislation are Black and Brown people and members of low-income, underserved and traditionally underrepresented communities. “It’s hard to envision that this level of legislative overhaul would’ve been attempted had the results of the general and runoff elections been different,” said Megan Gordon-Kane, Public Affairs Manager at the Feminist Women’s Health Center. “I can’t imagine that we would’ve seen this kind of push if so many women and people of color hadn’t turned out to vote.”
County election officials have also expressed their concern and opposition to these bills, saying that they take away local control of election administration while simultaneously increasing the financial burden on counties to run elections. “This is a power grab, at best,” said Susannah Scott, President for the League of Women Voters for Georgia, noting that the takeover of county election boards will enable state legislators to remove county supervisors.
The Election Administration Coalition is actively engaged in exploring solutions to the problems created by Senate Bill 202, and the groups are preparing intensified voter education and engagement efforts to counter the damaging effects of these new laws.
About The Election Administration Coalition
The Election Administration Coalition is a group of non-profit, non-partisan organizations working to uphold safe and fair elections in Georgia. The Coalition includes Georgia Votes, Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Common Cause Georgia, League of Women Voters of Georgia, Feminist Women’s Health Center, Black Voters Matter, Georgia Conservation Voters, Women Engaged, and 9to5 Georgia.