ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Protesters say two bills on the table at the Georgia State Capitol, including House Bill 531, are a threat to voting rights. Members of Georgia Stand Up joined The New Georgia Project and other organizations to protest outside the Capitol and draw attention to the legislation.
“I’m very optimistic that it’s going to spark the change in votes and people to speak out,” said Ariel Singleton, a lead organizer of Georgia Stand Up. They take issue with lawmakers passing HB 531 earlier this month, despite strong opposition from Democrats. It would require a form of ID to request an absentee ballot, end no-excuse absentee voting, limit early voting hours on weekends and limit the number of drop boxes. “People that are already in marginalized areas are just not going to be able to make it far. So you’re already taking away no-excuse voting, you’re taking away Sunday voting, mobilized voting,” Singeton said.READ MORE: UPDATE: St. Pete Man Identified In Fatal Saturday Shooting
Voting rights advocates say this disproportionately affects Black and other minority communities. Georgia Republicans have said otherwise. “It will make Georgia elections fair, more accessible, more transparent,” said Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones (R-District 47, Milton) back on March 1, following the House vote to pass HB 531.READ MORE: Pasco Schools May Eliminate Mask Requirement For Students By The End Of April
“I’m hoping that those that are in the State Capitol are going to take heed, those that have corporate dollars would take heed and they would listen,” said Singleton. “Whenever they try to do anything that suppresses our vote, we organize. We register more people, we mobilize more people,” said Daniel Blackman, a voter advocate who ran for Public Service Commissioner.
The fate of HB 531 is now in the hands of the Senate, which has its own version. Georgia House Democrats told CW69 right after the March 1 vote they plan to take legal action. ”There’s going to be a direct action campaign against every person who voted for this bill,” said House Minority Leader James Beverly (D-District 143, Macon). “When our votes are under attack, we stand up. We fight back, so that’s exactly what we’ll continue to do,” said Atlanta NAACP Member Shenita Binns, who also organizes the voter rights group Absolute Justice Now.MORE NEWS: Florida Man Sentenced To 40 Years For Sexual Battery Of A Child
Protesters later hosted a die-in demonstration in front of The World of Coke, urging corporations to take a stand against the legislation.