State Representative Cannon was about to knock on the door to the Governor’s office when she was handcuffed and unceremoniously dragged from State Capitol Building in Atlanta, placed into the back of a Georgia State Capitol patrol car after being arrested by Georgia State Troopers at the Georgia,
Democratic state Rep. Park Cannon, who is Black, was arrested by Capitol police amid a protest after knocking on the door of the governor’s office during his remarks prior to secretly signing the new law.
Video captured by a bystander shows Cannon handcuffed with her arms behind her back, being dragged from the Capitol by two state troopers, one on each arm and hollering out to the troopers to stop.
Democrats and voting rights groups say the law which was signed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp will disproportionately dis-franchise Black voters. It is one of over 200 Republican sponsored election bills introduced in some 34 states around the country.
The Republican changes to voting law in Georgia follows record-breaking turnout that led to Democratic victories in the presidential contest and two U.S. Senate runoffs in the once reliably red state.
“After the November election last year, I knew, like so many of you, that significant reforms to our state elections were needed,” said Kemp who signed the bill less than two hours after it cleared the Georgia General Assembly. The bill passed the state House 100-75, before the state Senate quickly agreed to House changes, 34-20. Republicans in the legislature supported it. Democrats were opposed.
The law requires a photo ID in order to vote absentee by mail, after more than 1.3 million Georgia voters used that option during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also cuts the time people have to request an absentee ballot and limits where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed. The law also reduces the timeframe in which runoff elections are held, including the amount of early voting for runoffs.
Besides requiring ID numbers to vote absentee, the bill mandates that ballot drop boxes be located inside early voting locations, limiting their usefulness. Drop boxes won’t be available to voters in the last four days of an election, when it’s often too late to mail them in time.
Weekend voting before general elections will be expanded, with mandatory voting hours on two Saturdays statewide. Counties will retain the option to allow early voting on two Sundays. But early voting before runoffs will be reduced to a minimum of just one week before election day.
The bill also will allow the State Election Board to take over county election boards that it deems need intervention. Skeptics say that will allow Republican officials to decide which ballots count in majority Democratic areas, such as Fulton County.
In addition, the legislation sets a deadline to request absentee ballots 11 days before election day and disqualifies provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct. Distributing food or drinks to voters waiting in line is also prohibited.
African Methodist Episcopal Church Bishop Reginald Jackson today announced a boycott of Coca-Cola products in Atlanta, as he says Coca-Cola and other large Georgia companies haven't done enough to oppose restrictive voting bills that Georgia lawmakers were debating on Thursday.