U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA-05) announced she will co-chair the Washington, D.C.-based Congressional Voting Rights Caucus to fight what she calls voter suppression bills in 14 states.
In this role, according to a press release, Williams will replace the late U.S. Congressman John Lewis.
Congressional Voting Rights Caucus members said in the press release they want swift passage of critical pieces of federal legislation to restore voting rights. They said 48 state legislatures “have introduced 389 voter suppression bills” and 14 states “have erected barriers to voting.”
“The future of our democracy is at stake, as extremist politicians enact Jim Crow 2.0 voter suppression legislation across the country,” Williams said.
“We might not be counting jelly beans in a jar, but these voter suppression laws sweeping the country are seeking the same results. I am confident that working with my fellow Congressional Voting Rights Caucus Co-Chairs, we will pass legislation to standardize our democracy. Your right to free and fair access to the ballot should not be dependent upon your zip code.”
“Those who support this law believe that it prevents voter fraud, but the reality is that these actions are a response to a problem that didn’t exist, and it truly makes it harder instead of easier to vote, which creates yet another barrier to the ballot box,” Williams said at a town hall event with Stacey Abrams.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in March defended SB 202.
“What this bill actually does is fight the rhetoric from those that are fund-raising off of this issue and polarizing it, to take away from the unconstitutional power grab of H.R. 1 that’s going on in Washington D.C. right now. It further secures our absentee ballots by mail by requiring a photo I.D., which the vast majority of Georgians support. It is also adding days of early voting on the weekends. We’re expanding the right to vote in Georgia. You’re not hearing that from the other side. That’s what the truth is, as well as further securing absentee ballot boxes, which didn’t exist before,” Kemp said at the time.
“It’s completely contrary to what they’re trying to do in D.C. by doing away with the state’s photo I.D. requirement, by doing away with it being illegal to harvest ballots in Georgia [and] making that mandatory at the federal level. I fought very hard for over a decade to keep our voter rolls secure. You wouldn’t be able to do that with H.R. 1. So I think the people really need to look at who is trying to restrict things. It’s the Democrats in Washington, not Republicans that continue to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
The November 2020 election, according to Kemp, saw a 350 percent increase in the use of absentee balloting, more than 1.3 million absentee ballots total compared to election day in 2018.
“This obviously led to local election workers having to process far more ballots using a time-consuming, labor-intensive and at times arbitrary process,” Kemp said.
“By moving to a state-issued ID requirement instead of a signature match, Georgia will dramatically streamline the verification process on the absentee ballot.”
Williams in January submitted a resolution that would have, if enacted, banned former U.S. President Donald Trump from entering the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
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