Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a sweeping elections bill on Thursday evening (March 25), imposing steep voting restrictions across the state. The bill has long been criticized as an effort to stifle Black voters and other voters of color who turned out in record numbers during the November general election.
Kemp was reportedly giving a livestreamed announcement that he had signed the bill into law when State Rep. Park Cannon knocked on his door, asking for the public to witness him sign the voting restrictions bill into law. According to a report by NPR, Rep. Cannon, a Black woman, was arrested by state troopers who had instructed her to stop knocking on Kemp’s door.
Rep. Cannon was dragged away from Kemp’s office in handcuffs and through the state Capitol building. The incident was captured on video, quickly drawing outrage by social media users, and comparisons of images from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Per NPR, she was arrested on a charge of obstructing law enforcement officers by use of violence or threats and a charge of disrupting general assembly sessions.
Tamara Stevens, an activist who was with Rep. Cannon said she was knocking to get transparency. “She knew he was signing a bill that would affect all Georgians –– why would he hide behind closed doors? This isn’t a monarchy,” Stevens told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
Cannon was released from jail, according to her attorney Gerald Griggs who spoke with a group of reporters and advocates outside of the jail. Sen. Raphael Warnock was also present.
The law has been heavily condemned by voting rights groups for the restrictions to voting access it imposes. The law reduces ballot drop boxes, limits absentee voting, and makes passing out food to voters in line illegal, among other restrictions.
Votings rights groups have already filed lawsuits in response, stating the new law violates Constitutional rights.
This law is only one of hundreds in state legislative bodies around the country.
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