Critics blasted an election integrity bill signed into law by Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, calling it “Jim Crow 2.0.”
The bill passed both houses of the Georgia legislature via party-line votes, and Kemp signed it on Thursday night. The bill includes expanded early voting prior to general elections, but critics claim that voter ID requirements on in-person and absentee ballots will prevent young and minority voters from voting.
“Jim Crow 2.0 is represented in that picture,” Georgia state Rep. Donna McLeod says about the group of White men surrounding Gov. Brian Kemp as he signed a sweeping elections bill that will restrict voting access for many into law on Thursday. https://t.co/zUKnlSJwS6 pic.twitter.com/0yZiYg9ByR
— CNN (@CNN) March 26, 2021
Democratic Georgia state Rep. Donna McLeod told CNN that Georgia is “going backwards in time rather than forwards in time” after fellow Democratic state Rep. Park Cannon was arrested for interrupting Kemp’s prepared remarks and signing of the bill. McLeod called the bill “Jim Crow 2.0,” although she did not explain how the bill racially discriminates.
“You see those men, there’s no color in them. They’re just pure white males trying to hold onto power with their life.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who refused to concede defeat to Kemp in her 2018 election, echoed those comments. “[T]hese blatantly unconstitutional efforts… are nothing less than Jim Crow 2.0.” (RELATED: Elizabeth Warren Suggests Stacey Abrams Is Rightful Governor Of Georgia)
Stacey Abrams: “Now, more than ever, Americans must demand federal action to protect voting rights as we continue to fight against these blatantly unconstitutional efforts that are nothing less than Jim Crow 2.0.”
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 26, 2021
Many were quick to comment along similar lines, with actress Patricia Arquette describing Kemp as a “Hell hound.”
Jim Crow 2.0 https://t.co/EA9v1jr13A
— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) March 25, 2021
I’m gearing up to teach about the 20th century civil rights movement & it pains me that I will be having to tell them about Jim Crow 2.0 in Georgia. However, I will also highlight everyone who is already challenging it & I know this will inspire & activate my Gen Z students! https://t.co/mHpaWlvMQV
— Sari Beth Rosenberg (@saribethrose) March 26, 2021
You shouldn’t be. Hell hound. You should be ashamed. May you forever be remembered as Jim Crow 2.0
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) March 26, 2021
The law, Senate Bill 202, mandates “two Saturday voting days and two optional Sunday voting days” prior to general elections, which will “dramatically increase the total voting hours for voters across the State of Georgia.” (RELATED: Schumer Accused Georgia Republicans Of Eliminating Sunday Voting. There’s More To The Story)
It also requires Georgia voters to provide identification information when they apply for absentee ballots. A voter must include “the number of his or her Georgia driver’s license or identification card” or other approved identification on an absentee ballot application, which can be found on the Secretary of State’s website. Georgia already requires a state-issued ID for in-person voting. A 2019 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that voter ID requirements have minimal impact on minority voters.
Some Democrats have honed in on a provision that prevents “giv[ing], offer[ing] to give, or participat[ing] in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector.” The provision is included in a section of the bill that addresses “restrictions on campaign activities and public opinion polling within the vicinity of a polling place.”
This provision and the absentee ballot one, will be targeted in a lawsuit filed by The New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter and Rise, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
I guess part of @GOPChairwoman best practices included making it a crime to give folks water and food when they have to stand in lines for hours just to cast their ballots to vote. The GOP is hellbent on ushering in Jim Crow 2.0 but let’s be clear #WeWillNotGoBack https://t.co/gQ0cI15WYE
— Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair (@harrisonjaime) March 26, 2021
The bill also creates “a telephone hotline for the use of electors of this state to file complaints and allegations of voter intimidation and illegal election activities.”
Georgia Republicans defended the bill as needed to restore confidence in election results.
“There were many alarming issues with how the election was handled, and those problems, understandably, led to a crisis of confidence in the ballot box here in Georgia,” Kemp said at the signing ceremony.
Confidence in American elections generally breaks down across partisan lines. 92% of Democrats trust that the 2020 election was free and fair, compared to 33% of Republicans, according to a Morning Consult poll. Those numbers flipped from 2018. Just before the midterms, 91% of Republicans believed that the election would be fair, compared to only 49% of Democrats, according to an NPR/Marist poll.