Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a sweeping election reform bill into law on Thursday, despite protests from Democrats — including a lawmaker who was arrested while trying to confront him over the measure.
What are the details?
Protesters chanted outside the Georgia Capitol prior to Kemp signing the legislation, in a last-ditch effort to stop the measure passed by the state’s Republican-controlled House and Senate.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution referred to the legislation as an “election restrictions bill,” because it shortens the timeline for Georgians to vote by mail and grants the legislature more “control over how elections are run.”
But Kemp told Fox News that the new law is actually about “expanding the right to vote,” noting that it adds “days of early voting on the weekends.” He said the bill also “further secures our absentee ballots by mail by requiring a photo I.D., which the vast majority of Georgians support.”
According to ABC News, “The bill would expand early voting for primary and general elections, but not for runoffs, which is how Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock secured their Senate seats — and the Democrats’ majority — in January, breaking a decades-long streak of Democrats losing in statewide runoff elections.”
The legislation also requires that ballot drop boxes be secure, and may only be inside advance voting locations during business hours. Further, it is now a crime for anyone who is not an election worker to hand out food or beverages to voters waiting in line, a practice known as “line-warming.”
Democrats in the state are furious over the measure, and some attempted to confront the governor in his office around the time he signed it. One lawmaker even ended up leaving the Capitol in the back of a police vehicle.
The Journal-Constitution reported in a separate story that Rep. Park Cannon, a Democrat from Atlanta, was “placed in the back of a Georgia State Capitol patrol car” after troopers detained and arrested her as she knocked on the door of Kemp’s office.
Footage of the incident was recorded and posted by fellow Democrat Rep. Tamara Stevens.
Stevens can be heard asking, “why does she need to step back?” before arguing that Kemp was signing the election law “in private” and keeping “elected officials…out of the process.”
Protesters are then seen taunting the officer as Cannon raps on the door before two officers handcuff the legislator. The protesters continued to yell at the officers as they escorted Cannon away from the governor’s office.
“Why are you arresting her?” This Facebook Live video from @TWareStevens shows the moment authorities detained stat… https://t.co/8lTyFLHK7c
— Greg Bluestein (@Greg Bluestein)1616714120.0