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World Georgia GOP Declared 'Open Season' On Black Voting Rights, Rep. Hank Johnson Says

03:20  24 february  2021
03:20  24 february  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

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In Georgia , Republicans control state government and have introduced dozens of legislative measures that would restrict voting access. GOP state Rep . Barry Fleming is chief sponsor of a wide-ranging proposal that would ban Sunday early voting , require a photo ID for absentee voting , limit the time when “These measures, in our opinion, are not based on any objective, data-driven, evidence-based assessment of the issue but solely with the intention to undermine Black voters and other communities of concern,” said Democratic state Rep . Michael Smith, chairman of the Georgia Legislative Black

Georgia voting rights groups are denouncing a sweeping voting bill introduced this week by Republican state legislators as a "direct attack on democracy" and on Black voters .

Georgia Democrats say state-level Republicans are furiously introducing strict new voting legislation, much of which critics say is intended to reduce the record Black turnout which elevated President Joe Biden in November.

a man sitting at a table with a laptop: A member of the Georgia delegation walks out with their delegation placard after the vote on the first day of the Republican National Convention at the Charlotte Convention Center on August 24, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The four-day event is themed © CHRIS CARLSON / Staff/Getty Images A member of the Georgia delegation walks out with their delegation placard after the vote on the first day of the Republican National Convention at the Charlotte Convention Center on August 24, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The four-day event is themed "Honoring the Great American Story."

Representative Hank Johnson of Atlanta is among several House Democrats who are accusing Georgia Republicans of introducing new "voter integrity" bills which aim to end traditional get-out-the-vote campaigns in Black communities. Republicans, who control both chambers of the state General Assembly and the governor's office, proposed a bill last week which would eliminate early voting on Sundays — a move Black church leaders say is aimed squarely at their recent efforts to boost voter turnout. Driving all-time record turnout in minority communities across the state, more than 4 million Georgia voters cast early or absentee ballots in the 2020 general election.

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Widespread voting problems were reported in at least six metro counties.

Henry Calvin Johnson Jr. (born October 2, 1954) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Georgia 's 4th congressional district since 2007.

One Republican who was ousted in part by Georgia voter turnout efforts, former Senator Kelly Loeffler, announced Monday she is starting a rival voting rights group which seeks to counter-act Abrams. Loeffler and her fellow GOP incumbent, former Georgia Senator David Perdue, were both defeated by Democrats in January 2021.

"If left to their own devices, Republicans will try to limit the ability of minority voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote," said Johnson, a Georgia Democrat who co-sponsored a federal election standards bill which Republicans have labeled "overreach."

The proposed House bill which is set for a vote next week would require early voting time periods in states like Georgia and would force districts with a history of racial discrimination to report any voting law changes to federal officials first.

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Georgia ’s runoff votes will determine control of the U.S. Senate. Equally front and center is the issue of what constitutes fair access to voting . Republican House members against an attempt to oppose the certification of the Electoral College's vote are saying the quiet part of their argument very, very loud.A coalition of 11 GOP senators are planning to join with some House Republicans to oppose the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's win on Wednesday, giving debunked claims of election fraud as their reasoning.

The Georgia GOP chairman added that an affidavit from the monitor has been turned over to the secretary of state, and their attorneys have “requested an investigation”: One of our monitors discovered a 9,626 vote error in the DeKalb County hand count. We have no idea whether either the first or second hand count matches the original machine count because audit has not been completed,” he said after Wasserman asserted that the discovery does not impact Georgia ’s overall vote margin

Republicans in the Georgia House's Special Committee on Election Integrity introduced several pieces of legislation which would create sweeping changes in state voting requirements. GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who was scorned by former President Donald Trump for not helping him overturn the November election, has said he supports photo ID requirements for absentee ballots.

But dozens of recently filed GOP bills would limit the time absentee ballots can be requested and would create several new hurdles for mail-in voting — a method used in massive numbers last November by Black voters.

"It's open season on voting rights in Georgia," Johnson told the Associated Press Tuesday.

"It's a new form of voter suppression, the Klan in three-piece suits rather than white hoods," said the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, which has participated in souls to the polls events. "They know the power of the Black vote, and their goal is to suppress that power," McDonald told the AP.

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In Georgia , Republicans have moved to tighten the procedures involving absentee ballots following the historic wins in the runoff election. Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported some GOP legislators proposed a series of rules to limit the access citizens have beyond in-person voting . “There is an overall picture that has developed. Obviously, [President Trump] has targeted Black electorates. Places that are majority Black populations,” NAACP Board Chairman Leon Russell said exclusively to theGrio . “Whether it is Detroit, Fulton County, Philadelphia, it is obvious he is going after Black voters .

Democrats in last week’s two Georgia Senate races received almost 100,000 fewer votes than Joe Biden at the top of their party’s ticket, an encouraging sign to the state’s top Republicans who are confident their candidates are the frontrunners in January’s runoff elections.Republican votes in the Senate races more closely matched President Donald Trump’s totals.“There were unusually large numbers of people who voted only for Joe Biden and in no other election,” David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, told National Review. “We don’t know what that means.

Black church leaders dismissed Georgia Republicans like state Rep. Barry Fleming who have described the legislation as "an attempt to restore the confidence in our election system." The GOP bills which would restrict voter access on Sundays is a blatant attack on Black churches, some pastors told the AP.

"It's a new form of voter suppression, the Klan in three-piece suits rather than white hoods," said the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta. "They know the power of the Black vote, and their goal is to suppress that power."

For more on this story, read additional reporting from the Associated Press below.

Biden beat former President Donald Trump by roughly 12,000 votes, becoming the first Democrat to win a presidential contest in Georgia since 1992. Biden received nearly double the number of absentee votes as Trump in a state that became a major target of Trump's baseless claims of fraud. Biden's win there was confirmed in three separate counts, including one by hand.

"These measures, in our opinion, are not based on any objective, data-driven, evidence-based assessment of the issue but solely with the intention to undermine Black voters and other communities of concern," said Democratic state Rep. Michael Smith, chairman of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Policy Committee.

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Republicans are trying to limit ways to vote that have been wildly popular. After states expanded access to mail-in and early voting during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 70 percent of all ballots cast nationwide came before Election Day.

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