By AFRO Staff
Republican-backed bills that would limit weekend voting in Georgia are being decried as a direct attempt to suppress Black voters—much like the Jim Crow laws of yesteryear.
“If you don’t want to be associated with the Jim Crow South, stop leading the charge to take us back there,” said State Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler, a Democrat from Stone Mountain, of the GOP initiatives, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Today, before the eyes of this country, Georgia is poised to pass some of the most egregious, dangerous and most expensive voter suppression acts in this entire nation, rolling back years of hardball progress and renewing our own reputation for discrimination,” the Rev. James Woodall, president of the Georgia NAACP, said at a recent rally to protest the bills, as quoted by ABC News .
The Black Church has often encouraged civic engagement through its “Souls to the Polls” initiative, by which Black congregations across the U.S. are encouraged to vote after services wherever Sunday voting is available.
House Bill 531 and its Senate counterpart which are currently working its way through the Georgia Legislature, would cut Sunday voting altogether, among other measures. It is one among a slew of similar GOP-backed legislation across the country that would limit access to voting.
With the lies about election fraud touted by former President Donald Trump hanging over voters like a dark cloud, legislation supporters say the bills are meant to increase election security.
“House Bill 531 is designed to begin to bring back the confidence of our voters back into our election system,” Republican Rep. Barry Fleming, the measure’s chief sponsor, told ABC News.
But detractors say they are a transparent attempt to reduce Democratic votes — particularly Black ones — after Republican losses at the polls in November.
“It’s pathetically obvious to anyone paying attention that when Trump lost the November election and Georgia flipped control of the U.S. Senate to Democrats shortly after, Republicans got the message that they were in a political death spiral,” said Democratic Rep. Renitta Shannon. “And now they are doing anything they can to silence the voices of Black and brown voters specifically, because they largely powered these wins.”