The New Georgia Voting Law Is Shamefully Suppressive To Black Voters — And Here's Why

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young Black woman wearing an I voted sticker

Georgia Republicans, led by Gov. Brian Kemp, recently passed restrictive changes to their state election process in what is now being branded as “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”

While the new voting law "expands access to voting by lengthening times for early voting in the general election," that seems to be the law's only upside.

The process for absentee voting now requires a driver’s license or other documentation. If a person doesn’t have a driver’s license or state ID, they must submit additional proof of identity.

Drop boxes must be located inside early voting locations and will no longer be placed in other locations convenient to voters, like libraries or other local government buildings.

The drop boxes will not be available to voters in the last four days of an election — when it’s too late to mail them.

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The strangest part of this new law is the prohibition from delivering items like food, water, and folding chairs to voters waiting in long lines.

In past elections, in largely Democratic areas, while voters waited in line for hours, people called “line warmers” would come around in an organized fashion, handing out water bottles and other refreshments.

Georgia’s justification for banning this practice comes from the belief that these practices influence voters, even though there is zero evidence that line warmers do but hand out water bottles.

The passing of this law comes after Georgia's record turnout for the 2020 Presidential election and the Senate run-offs in January, in which the state of Georgia was flipped blue for the first time in decades.

The victories in Georgia that aided President Biden, as well as the election of two Democratic senators in January that helped turn the Senate majority to Democrat, came largely thanks to the high turnout of Black voters and Stacey Abrams's grassroots movement to register new voters.

The South has a long history of voter suppression that dates all the way back to the end of the Reconstruction Era.

Black voters now make up roughly one-third of Georgia’s population and are usually registered as Democrats.

These new restrictions on voting access will only hinder the progress Abrams made in ensuring Black people show up at the polls.

The new Georgia law comes after former President Donald Trump spread the false accusations of voter fraud, alleging that the election was stolen from him, which fueled the Capitol riots that took place on January 6.

The ballots in Georgia were counted three times, including once by hand, and there was no evidence found of voter fraud at polling places or in absentee ballots.

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The right to vote is a sacred thing for Black people, considering we didn’t receive that right until 1965. This new law being put into place in Georgia will further inhibit Black people from exercising their 15th Amendment.

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Black residents in Georgia are 88 percent more likely to be below the poverty level, making them less likely to possess the required forms.

Removing ballet boxes from locations that are convenient to voters will hinder Black people in Georgia who don’t have the necessary access to get to a polling place.

It’s not a coincidence that these new voting laws are being put into effect right after the majority of voters that came out in November and January were Black.

Georgia Republicans are trying to silence the Black community and keep us away from the polls when it comes to the elections.

I’m sure if Trump had won again, none of this would be happening. But, the fact is Biden won this election with the help of Black people, especially Black women.

It was a fair election, and as hard as Georgia and other states in the South want to try, Black people will fight tooth and nail for their right to vote.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Chicago. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.