“With Senate bill 202, Georgia will take another step toward ensuring our elections are secure, accessible and fair,” stated Georgia Governor Brian Kemp at a Thursday evening press conference. A press conference that was cut short by the arrest of Democratic state Representative Park Cannon, charged with a felony for earlier knocking on Governor Kemp’s door to question him on signing the heinous bill into law. S.B. 202
S.B. 202 was signed into law on the lie that the the 2020 election was stolen. The truth of S.B. 202 is that it is white supremacy once again asserting itself to stop African Americans from exercising their rights.
S.B. 202, The Election “Integrity” Act of 2021
- Restricts use of drop boxes
- Limits the location of drop boxes
- Criminalizes line warming, providing food or water to people in line
- Unlimited challenges to voter registration
- Makes Sunday voting optional —discretion of county’s election board
- Bans out-of-precinct voting until 5 p.m. and electors arriving after that point must sign an affidavit saying they cannot get to their assigned precinct in time to vote
- Ban portable polling facilities, like the mobile voting buses Fulton County used the last cycle in the 2020 Presidential Election
- State Election Board would be able to replace county election boards that don’t meet “standards,” meaning the white state could take over Black county election boards
- Add ID requirement for absentee ballots
The least sexy part of that law is the most dangerous:
State Election Board would be able to replace county election boards that don’t meet “standards.” Meaning the white state could take over Black county election boards.
The gerrymandered Republican legislature run State Election Board can do anything if it gains control of local Black boards, anything. It can limit voting on Sundays. It can end voting on Sundays. It can move polling places. It can close polling places. It can do anything. It is a classic Southern Strategy playbook move.
The United States has gone out of its way to grant white men the privilege to murder via the gun. At the same time, it continues to do an almost seemingly diabolically abysmal job at enforcing African Americans’ right to vote, especially in areas of the country where their numbers are the greatest.
Black Southern voters are the most disenfranchised voters in the nation. No group has been as historically and harshly targetted for anti-voting measures as African Americans. The U.S. entire nightmarish prison system started in part to stop Black people from voting.
It feels at times that this country has sacrificed Black people in the South, for a kind of metropolitan freedom in its Northern and most Western cities that only its more monied white citizens can enjoy.
Georgia is the fourth Blackest state in the country. For S.B. 202 to pass with the word integrity in its title is a disgrace to U.S. democracy.
In 2020, after 25 years, Georgia once again voted against white supremacy for president, and for the first time in over 100 years and since the end of Reconstruction, Georgia elected an African American Senator and a Jewish Senator in two fairer elections.
Those fairer elections happened owing to Stacey Abrams’ vision, her organization Fair Fight, and funding from Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg’s funding is no small matter. It and Abrams’ organizing was a major contributing factor to Georgia flipping away from the unabashedly Christian flavored white supremacy of the Republican party still rooted in the Confederacy to the Democrat Biden.
The Heart of Dixie is Georgia. Atlanta is the defacto Metropolitan capital of America’s white supremacy. It has been dedicated for over two centuries to disempowering and disenfranchising its Black population —and lying about it. Outside of South Carolina, Georgia is the most prominent purveyor of Lost Cause fabrications and falsehoods.
WEB Du Bois in “Black Reconstruction” said that while Black people fought for the Confederacy, they were forced and threatened with death if they did not comply.
After the 2020 presidential election and the 2021 U.S. senatorial races, it looked for a moment that the South had turned a corner. All of us who knows the South, knows it’s never changing, but for the flow of this essay, we’ll pretend that the devil can change.
African Americans across the nation had historic turnouts. Georgia has always had great turnouts for presidential elections, but those turnouts typically did not translate into results in the general election thanks to gerrymandering and voter suppression.
Yet, in Georgia, Biden received over 90 percent of the African American demographic’s vote and gave the Democrats a victory. Then in the January Ossoff and Warnoff U.S. Senate race, the African American community came out in record numbers again to help the Democrats gain a slight majority.
The Internet amplified these historical results and showed what good grassroots organizing and funding could do, but then the other shoe dropped. Barely into 2021, 106 anti-voting bills proposed, then 100 more, then 25 more, until we had 253 anti-voting bills sprouting from the Seditious South and stretched out to their gun-loving cousins of the Wicked West all within the first three months of what was supposed to be a brand new day.
That, along with a literal insurrection on January 6, showed the world what Black America has long had to suffer from living alongside the sadistic minds of dead-ender Confederates that continue to be entertained by the rest of the country out of fear that they will spread their intolerance, debauchery, sexism, and racism across the nation.
“We will continue to challenge S.B. 202 and other related legislation for exactly what it is – codified voter suppression – and will relentlessly fight on behalf of communities of color to ensure that their political power is not diminished. —In addition, we call on the United States Senate to pass H.R. 1, the For the People Act, and for Congress to pass H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to help repair our democracy and prevent these types of egregious attacks on voting rights.”Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)
S.B. 202 is the continuation of Black voter disenfranchisement. It must be challenged and dismantled. The violation of the Civil Rights of African Americans in the South is no longer a disrespect anyone should casually accept. The Southern chapter of the United States Orewelian nightmare must be closed and burned as an offering to justice.