On Tuesday (April 6), Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an executive order to promote access to voting following the passing of the state’s controversial voting law.
The order instructs the city’s chief equity officer to create a plan that will lessen the impact of the state’s voting law, SB 202, which imposes a variety of restrictions and barriers to voters, especially those who are Black, Latino, and low income.
“The voting restrictions of SB 202 will disproportionately impact Atlanta residents –– particularly in communities of color and other minority groups,” Mayor Bottoms said in a statement. “This Administrative Order is designed to do what those in the majority of the state legislature did not–– expand access to our right to vote.”
Voting rights advocates have protested the measure which was signed into law by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp late last month. The law erects barriers to absentee voting, decreases the number of ballot drop boxes, and makes passing out water to voters illegal, among other things.
It came after massive amounts of voters cast their ballots in the November election, flipping the state blue, and putting the state’s first Black Senator into office.
The Huffington Post reported that Bottom’s measure will train staff on how to provide community members with voter education, especially how to get registered to vote, and access absentee ballots. The order also includes ensuring Atlanta residents know how to get the proper identification needed to access the ballot. The city is also going to put website information and QR codes on mail, like utility bills, so residents can have plenty of ways to access the information.
The strategy is to equip every city employee can provide voters with election information.
“We’re also going to have to really continue to educate and encourage people to stand in the gap for voters across this state who may not have the ability to cast a vote, meaning we can’t go and vote the president and then wait an additional four years,” Bottoms said in an interview. She also said that what’s happening in Georgia is a “cautionary tale to other cities and states.”
Over 300 similar election measures have been proposed in 47 states around the country. Voting rights advocates are fighting laws by raising awareness, through court action, and garnering corporate protests. The MLB pulled its All-Star Game out of the Peach State in response to the election law. Delta and Coca-Cola have also provided public statements condemning the law.
Photo Credit: Getty Images