What You Need To Know:
The battle over the new voting law in Georgia continues. In a move to soften the blow of the state’s more restrictive law, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an administrative order Tuesday afternoon directing the City’s Chief Equity Officer to implement a series of actions against Senate Bill 202. Her office says these actions will work to expand access to the ballot box and ensure every Atlanta resident can exercise their right to vote.
“The voting restrictions will disproportionately impact Atlanta residents—particularly in communities of color and other minority groups,” Bottoms said in a statement. “This Administrative Order is designed to do what those in the majority of the state legislature did not—expand access to our right to vote.”
Through the mayor’s order, city staff members will be trained on voter registration and general information on early, absentee, and in-person voting. Residents will be given information on how to obtain the identification required for absentee voting. According to the statement, the city is developing plans to provide information on voter registration and absentee voting using water bills, QR Codes, and links to city websites. The city is also partnering with business and community leaders to create Public Service Announcements to explain the newest voting-related deadlines and timelines.
Under the new law, voting drop boxes can only be located inside early voting locations and available during voting hours. Georgia residents will be required to request absentee ballots at least 11 days before election day and provide a driver’s license number or other documentation when making the request.
Volunteers cannot distribute food and water to voters inside of the voting building, within 150 feet of the building, and within 25 feet of anyone waiting in line to vote. The law also gives the state legislature more power over local elections officials while expanding weekend voting in some rural counties. Other Republican-led states are passing similar legislation restricting voting access.
Why We Need to Know:
Kudos to Mayor Bottoms for her leadership in the fight for voting rights. She is a great example of how local municipalities can work within the law to make it as easy as possible for the people of Atlanta to make their voices heard, even as barriers are put up to disenfranchise them.
Also in Georgia news, Atlanta District Attorney Fannie Willis announced she will not be pressing charges against Representative Park Cannon, who was arrested by State Capitol Police March 25. Cannon was charged with obstruction of law enforcement and disrupting General Assembly sessions after knocking on the Georgia governor’s door, interrupting his livestreamed announcement that he had signed the controversial elections bill.