Today, the Georgia state legislature passed S.B. 202, voter suppression legislation that was signed into law this evening by Governor Brian Kemp. Among other suppressive measures, S.B. 202 places new restrictions on absentee/mail-in voting and drop box submissions, bars the use of mobile voting vans, allows for limitless challenges to voter registration and eligibility, and makes it illegal for organizations to provide food and water to individuals waiting in line to vote.
Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), issued the following statement regarding the new law:
“Today’s passage of S.B. 202 by the Georgia state legislature and its subsequent signing into law by Governor Kemp is a shameful, anti-democratic measure targeted at Black voters who turned out in overwhelming numbers to participate in the November and January elections. The legislature has worked for over a month to craft a bill that creates unconscionable barriers to voting. The substance of the bill – which restricts early voting, paves the way for unchecked voter intimidation by voter ‘challengers’ and criminalizes the humane provision of water to voters standing on long voter lines – is indefensible as anything other than voter suppression. The process by which this legislation was enacted constitutes a reprehensible abuse of power. This is unacceptable in a democracy.
“S.B. 202, which moved through the legislature in a rushed and non-transparent process, is one of the most wildly suppressive laws, erecting substantial hurdles that will prevent thousands of voters, particularly from communities of color, from exercising this fundamental right. Moreover, the fact that Republican legislators claim S.B. 202 was passed to enhance election security despite state officials repeatedly affirming that the 2020 election was fair and free of fraud provides even further evidence that this legislation is solely intended to do one thing: suppress Black votes.
“Today is indeed a tragedy for voting rights, but we remain undeterred in our quest to ensure that voters of color have equal, rightful access to the ballot box. We will continue to challenge S.B. 202 and other related legislation for exactly what it is – codified voter suppression – and will relentlessly fight on behalf of communities of color to ensure that their political power is not diminished.
”In addition, we call on the United State Senate to pass H.R. 1, the For the People Act, and for Congress to pass H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to help repair our democracy and prevent these types of egregious attacks on voting rights.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.