Lawmaker Arrested After Georgia GOP Passes Controversial Elections Bill

March 26, 2021 by Dan McCue
Lawmaker Arrested After Georgia GOP Passes Controversial Elections Bill
Ann White of Roswell holds protest signs on the North Wing stairs of the Georgia State Capitol building on day 38 of the legislative session in Atlanta, Thursday, March 25, 2021. "It ain't over yet," said White. "I look forward to going door-to-door working against everybody that voted for (SB 202)." The Georgia state House has passed legislation brought by Republicans that could lead to a sweeping overhaul of state election law. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

A Georgia lawmaker was arrested and forcibly removed from the state Capitol Thursday night as Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a sweeping overhaul of state election laws, including adding new restrictions on voting by mail.

Georgia State Rep. Park Cannon, a Democrat, was arrested as she attempted to knock on the door of the governor’s office. A video of the event quickly went viral on Twitter.

Shortly after midnight, Cannon tweeted to inform her supporters that she had been released from jail after posting bond. 

“I am not the first Georgian to be arrested for fighting voter suppression. I’d love to say I’m the last, but we know that isn’t true,” Cannon said


“But someday soon that last person will step out of jail for the last time and breathe a first breath knowing that no one will be jailed again for fighting for the right to vote,” she added.

The arrest capped a day of raw emotions at the State House after the Repubilcan-controlled legislature passed legislation that Democrats and voting rights advocates said would disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color.

With Kemp signing the bill into law just hours later, Georgia once again became ground zero for the national debate over voting rights.

Speaking at the White House on Friday, President Joe Biden called the new law, “like so many others being pursued by Republicans in statehouses across the country … a blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience.

“Instead of celebrating the rights of all Georgians to vote or winning campaigns on the merits of their ideas, Republicans in the state instead rushed through an un-American law to deny people the right to vote,” Biden said.

“Among the outrageous parts of this new state law, it ends voting hours early so working people can’t cast their vote after their shift is over. It adds rigid restrictions on casting absentee ballots that will effectively deny the right to vote to countless voters. And it makes it a crime to provide water to voters while they wait in line – lines Republican officials themselves have created by reducing the number of polling sites across the state, disproportionately in Black neighborhoods,” the president continued.

“This is Jim Crow in the 21st Century. It must end,” he said. “We have a moral and Constitutional obligation to act. I once again urge Congress to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to make it easier for all eligible Americans access the ballot box and prevent attacks on the sacred right to vote.”

Republican efforts to change voting laws in Georgia come after record-breaking turnout led to Democratic victories in the presidential election and two U.S. Senate runoffs in the once reliably red state.


More than 1.3 million Georgia voters opted to vote by mail last year, most driven by the fear of catching the coronavirus.

The new law in the state requires a photo ID in order to vote absentee by mail. It also reduces the amount of time people have to request an absentee ballot before an election and limits where ballot drop boxes will be placed.

But one of the biggest changes in the new law is that it gives the GOP-controlled legislature more control over election administration, a change that has raised concerns among voting rights groups that it could lead to greater partisan influence.

The bill would replace the elected secretary of state as the chair of the state election board with a new appointee of the legislature.

It would also allow the board to remove and replace county election officials deemed to be underperforming.

That provision is widely seen as something that could be used to target Fulton County, a Democratic stronghold that includes most of Atlanta, which came under fire after long lines plagued primary elections over the summer.

“Georgians turned out in record-breaking numbers because they could access the ballot,” Democratic Rep. Rhonda Burnough said on the Georgia House floor shortly before the bill passed in a 100-75 party-line vote. “Lies upon lies were told about our elections in response, and now this bill is before us built on those same lies.”

But Republicans in the chamber were unmoved.

One of them, Rep. Jan Jones, argued the new requirements would “increase the likelihood of a voter’s vote being cast successfully.” 

While the debate over the bill dragged on, about 50 protesters including representatives from the NAACP gathered across the street from the Capitol building in opposition to the changes.

After Cannon’s arrest, Sen. Reverend Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., visited her in the Fulton County jail.


Afterward he said, “What we have witnessed today is a desperate attempt to lock out and squeeze the people out of their own democracy.” 

Warnock, who was elected to the Senate in January, added, “We are going to take this fight to give the people their voices back.”

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

In The States

August 15, 2022
by Dan McCue
Massachusetts Governor Signs Climate Bill

BOSTON — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts has signed a climate bill that both boosts support for renewable energy... Read More

BOSTON — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts has signed a climate bill that both boosts support for renewable energy and sets limits on fossil fuel use. The Massachusetts state Legislature passed the bill at a time when the federal Build Back Better plan appeared dead,... Read More

Physician Green Wins Hawaii Democratic Primary for Governor

HONOLULU (AP) — For their 16th wedding anniversary, Democrats in Hawaii gifted Josh Green and his wife, Jaime, a comfortable... Read More

HONOLULU (AP) — For their 16th wedding anniversary, Democrats in Hawaii gifted Josh Green and his wife, Jaime, a comfortable margin of victory in the gubernatorial primary Saturday. Green, the state’s current lieutenant governor, handily defeated former first lady Vicky Cayetano and Kaiali’I Kahele, who decided... Read More

August 13, 2022
by Dan McCue
Alaskans to Get First Taste of Ranked Choice Voting

WASHINGTON — Alaskans heading to the polls for the state’s primary election on Tuesday will get their first, limited exposure... Read More

WASHINGTON — Alaskans heading to the polls for the state’s primary election on Tuesday will get their first, limited exposure to ranked choice voting in a special House election taking place the same day, and featuring Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich, and Democrat Mary Peltola.... Read More

Polio Detected in NYC's Sewage, Suggesting Virus Circulating

NEW YORK (AP) — The polio virus has been found in New York City’s wastewater in another sign that the... Read More

NEW YORK (AP) — The polio virus has been found in New York City’s wastewater in another sign that the disease, which hadn’t been seen in the U.S. in a decade, is quietly spreading among unvaccinated people, health officials said Friday. The presence of the poliovirus... Read More

Trump Says He's Testifying Wednesday in NY Investigation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump will be questioned under oath Wednesday in the New York attorney general’s long-running civil investigation into his... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump will be questioned under oath Wednesday in the New York attorney general’s long-running civil investigation into his dealings as a real estate mogul, he confirmed in a post on his Truth Social account. Trump’s testimony comes amid a flurry of legal activity surrounding... Read More

August 9, 2022
by Dan McCue
Comprehensive Databases of Local Wind, Solar Siting Ordinances Released

GOLDEN, Colo. — Project developers seeking to build renewable energy projects in the U.S. got a big leg up Tuesday... Read More

GOLDEN, Colo. — Project developers seeking to build renewable energy projects in the U.S. got a big leg up Tuesday with the release of two new databases of state and local wind and solar energy zoning ordinances by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. According to agency... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top