ATLANTA — Today, Georgia Republicans forced SB 202 through both chambers of the legislature in a desperate and rushed party-line vote before Governor* Brian Kemp scrambled to sign this reckless legislation, enacting one of the most dangerous and harmful anti-voting bills in the nation as part of their shameful efforts to suppress the vote and take control of Georgia elections.
In addition to its burdensome new ID requirements, its criminalization of handing out food and water to voters, and its unnecessary limits on ballot drop boxes, SB 202 also gives Republican legislators enormous power over the institutions that oversee their own elections. The bill would allow Republicans to replace entire county boards of elections and gives the legislature the power to appoint a majority of the State Election Board itself. Rep. Barry Fleming made the GOP’s motives clear in a hearing on the bill, saying “we as legislators decide how we will be elected because we decide our boards of elections.” Not only will these provisions “further undermine the country’s democratic norms” but could even “change the outcome of future elections” as part of “an unprecedented shift” in power over election management.
“SB 202 is nothing less than an all-out attack on democracy in Georgia and gives Republicans a license to intimidate voters,” said Fair Fight Action CEO Lauren Groh-Wargo. “This legislation allows for a complete takeover of county boards of election and the State Elections Board itself by partisan politicians in the state legislature — a disgraceful power grab that should shame any business or civic leader that claims to care about voting rights. It also criminalizes handing out food and water to voters while placing unnecessary limits on ballot drop boxes, enacting burdensome new ID requirements, and permitting mass voter challenges. Anyone in Georgia claiming to support access to the ballot must stand up and speak out against this dangerous and fundamentally anti-democratic legislation that is nothing more than a Republican power grab to take control of our elections.”