By Kayla Radzyminski
Amid the recent resurgence of support for nationwide racial equality, Americans and voting rights activists alike fear inherent discrimination with the passing of Georgia’s new voting law. Does the law pose as an indirect attack on minorities masked as governmental reform?
Georgia GOP lawmakers passed an ominous law March 25, which could be interpreted as an attempt to protect Republican legislation in Georgia. In the previous election, African Americans in Georgia proved vital to Democratic prowess, with nearly 88% of individuals supporting now President Joe Biden’s efforts. Their outward participation aided the conversion of Georgia to blue state status, eventually pushing Republicans out of control of the U.S. Senate. The law directly impacts the trajectory of future electoral voting within the state. Among its provisions, the law mandates more rigid procedures for voter identification and criminalizes providing food and water provisions to voters in line.
Instead of signature verification of absentee ballots from the past election, which to the GOP were seemingly counterproductive in eliminating voter fraud, voters now will be required to provide their Georgia driver’s license number or any other form of state identification. It poses difficulty for many Georgians, considering around 200,000 of them do not possess a driver’s license or state identification card. Additionally, per Fulton County Board of Elections Chairman Alex Wan, the law looks to limit the use of mobile voting units, impacting Fulton County, which retains the largest Black population in Georgia at 45%.
he direct hindrance to non-white voters continues beyond the more modern forms of voting. On average, the wait time following the scheduled poll-closing time was 51 minutes for primarily non-white voters, compared to the 6 minutes of white voters. They disproportionally wait in voting lines for longer periods compared to their white counterparts, and would benefit more from outside resources to better endure the wait.
Is this a ploy to retain immense Republican legislative power within Georgia and turn the state back red by suppressing Black, predominantly Democratic voters? President Joe Biden has urged Congress to counter these restrictions, calling them the “Jim Crow in the 21st Century,” highlighting their underlying discriminatory origins. Hopefully soon, in light of the Black Lives Matter Movement, society can march forward in the face of equality instead of backward. It all starts with Georgia.
Kayla Radzyminski is a student in a Media and Democracy class at St. Bonaventure University.