You knew Republicans in Georgia would move heaven and earth to suppress the Black vote after taking an “L” in the last election. Thanks to folks like Stacey Abrams and a longstanding grass roots effort to turn the deeply red state purple in 2020, Biden secured the state’s 16 electoral votes, and Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff nabbed runoff wins to give their party control of the U.S. Senate.
In response, Republicans in the state legislature have passed new laws designed to make it harder to vote. For example, a photo ID will now be required to vote absentee by mail, after more than 1.3 million Georgia voters used that option during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new bill also cuts the time period people have to request an absentee ballot, and limits where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed.
The bill also replaces the elected secretary of state as the chair of the state election board with a new appointee of the legislature, after Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger refused Trump’s request to overturn Georgia’s election results. Additionally, the bill allows the board to remove and replace county election officials deemed to be “underperforming.
President Biden said during his first press conference Thursday that Georgia’s new voting laws “make Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle.” Democrats and voting rights groups said the law will disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color.
Martin Luther King III was more direct, calling the laws “a form of racism.”
The son of the civil rights legend told CNN people must, “be more vigilant — black people, young people, older people, poor people are going to have to be more vigilant.”
King III continued, “It’s unfortunate this trend is happening across America, and over 40 states across our nation. There used to be a time if you called someone a racist, they would want to retreat. Now it seems to be alright to be a racist. It’s a sad day in America, quite frankly.”
Host Pamela Brown then asked if the new voting restrictions were a form of racism. King III responded, “Oh, absolutely. In the communities of color, and many other communities, after church — ‘souls to the polls.’ People are led to the polls. Certainly we can praise God all the time, and go to church on Sabbath Day, but also, we can participate in the government.”