Updated: Apr 18
By Clara Pressey
Image via Associated Press.
On March 1st, 2021, the Georgia State House of Representatives passed a bill that was condemned across the country. Sparking comparisons to Jim Crow and protests in the streets, Georgia House Bill 531 is garnering attention as one in the latest pieces of legislation sustaining voter suppression passed in the United States.
The bill was sponsored by Representative Barry Fleming (121st), Representative Jan Jones (47th), Representative Alan Powell (32nd), Representative Shaw Blackmon (146th), Representative Lynn Smith (70th), and Representative Rick Williams (145th). Its sponsor in the Senate is Senator Mike Dugan. Before being passed in the House, it went through the Special Committee on Election Integrity. In the Senate, it went through the Ethics Committee.
The bill itself is a regression for voting rights in Georgia. It limits the number of drop-boxes per precinct, and restricts the times of day they could be open. It also limits in-person early voting based on days of the week. Every single county would be kept three weeks, but not three full weeks—three work weeks, a Saturday, and an additional Saturday or Sunday of their choice. Not only that, but the amount of time in which someone must request an absentee ballot will be pushed back significantly.
On March 25th, 2021, this bill was signed into law by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp after passing through both houses of the Georgia State Assembly. There are a few adjustments, including slight changes in the requirements for early in-person voting and additional efforts to restrict who can request an absentee ballot and when.
Legislation of this nature is often done in the name of protection from voter fraud which is, in itself, extremely rare. They’re wolves in sheep’s clothing, which is why it’s important that they’re covered and explained. When one can understand these measures, they are obvious and blatant attacks on voting rights.
Written by writer Clara Pressey