Meena Harris, the lawyer niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, compared Georgia Senate Bill 202, intended to change electoral rules in the state, to the segregationist laws of Jim Crow.
Senate Bill 202 was passed by the Georgia General Assembly with votes of 100 to 75 in the House and 34 to 20 in the Senate about an hour before Governor Brian Kemp signed it on Thursday afternoon. .
It limits postal and early voting, restricts the ballot boxes and imposes strict new requirements on voter identification. It also allows the state, currently controlled by Republicans, to take over county electoral councils that the state deems problematic.
Some activists and lawmakers have criticized the bill because they say it will suppress votes, including those of ethnic minorities.
On Thursday night, Meena Harris tweeted a photo of Kemp, a Republican, signing the bill, flanked by six white men. “The new Jim Crow, except it’s actually the old Jim Crow,” she said.
The Jim Crow laws were passed at the end of the 19e and early 20e centuries by the southern states to deprive their voting rights and suppress the political and economic gains made by blacks after the civil war.
Georgia State Representative Donna McLeod and former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams have dubbed the voting reforms “Jim Crow 2.0”.
Democratic Representative Park Cannon, a black woman, was arrested Thursday after knocking on the door of the governor’s office during a press conference where Kemp was signing the bill. She was warned twice by police that she would be arrested if she did not stop.
The lawmaker has been charged with two felonies, one for allegedly “preventing or disrupting General Assembly sessions or other meetings of members” and the other for willful obstruction, according to his arrest record.
She was released from Fulton County Jail Thursday evening. A crowd outside chanted “We’re with Park!” as she left.
Georgia was won by Democrats in the January runoff round. Democrats reversed two seats in the US Senate, giving the party control of the upper house when counting Vice President Harris’ decisive vote.
Abrams has been credited with helping Democrats win Peach State because of his campaign to increase voter turnout and fight voter suppression, especially African American communities.
Abrams condemned Cannon’s arrest Thursday evening, saying: “From the passage of the # SB202 The Voter Suppression Bill targeting black and brown voters at the arrest of a black lawmaker who defended the right to vote of his constituents today was a reminder of Georgia’s dark past. We must fight for the future of our democracy #gapol. “
Last month, former Georgian Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) formed a new group aimed at increasing GOP participation in Georgia in the 2022 elections.