On Thursday (February 18) Republicans in the Georgia House of Representatives revealed a new bill that would impose voting restrictions that impact Black voters in the state.
The bill would put an end to Sunday early voting, which drew many Black and churchgoing voters in “Souls to the Polls” events during the last election season.
The bill would also restrict absentee voting, which was popular among Black and Democratic voters in November.
The new bill comes just weeks after President Joe Biden was inaugurated, confirming earlier reports that Republican lawmakers across the South would impose such legislation.
Georgia is of particular interest to Republicans since the state flipped blue in the presidential race for the first time in nearly 30 years. The state also delivered Democrats two US Senate seats with the elections of Sens. Raphael Warnock, and Jon Ossoff.
According to Business Insider, House Bill 531 would require absentee voters to provide photo I.D., limit the number of ballot drop boxes and early voting sites. Under the bill, early voting sites would also have restricted hours of operation, and voters who want to request an absentee ballot would have less time to do so.
Voting rights advocates in the state are raising awareness of the legislation and providing ways for potentially-affected communities to take action.
“After stunning losses in the general election and January runoffs, it’s not a mystery why Georgia Republicans have rushed to enact restrictions on early, absentee and weekend voting,” voting rights advocate and New South founder Nsé Ufot said in a statement. “Georgia Republicans saw what happens when Black voters are empowered and show up at the polls, and now they are launching a concerted effort to suppress the votes and voices of Black Georgians.
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