Atlanta Mayor Announces Executive Action To Curb Vote Suppression

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In a victory for voting rights advocates dealing with the fallout of recently enacted election restrictions in Georgia, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) has announced that she has taken executive action to “mitigate” the impact of the legislation in her city.

As the mayor put it, referring to the newly enacted suppressive election-related bill:

‘The voting restrictions of SB 202 will disproportionately impact Atlanta residents—particularly in communities of color and other minority groups. This Administrative Order is designed to do what those in the majority of the state legislature did not—expand access to our right to vote.’

The legislation in question, which has attracted national outrage, includes a wide-ranging host of provisions, from a ban on outside organizations providing food and water to voters standing in line at polling places to new voter ID requirements for mail-in voting. As in other similar situations, voter ID requirements could disproportionately impact disadvantaged voters who might not have the identification that’s now punitively required to cast their ballot. Broadly, it’s an unnecessary procedural hurdle — as pointed out by voting rights lawyer Marc Elias, if voters use their Georgia driver’s license to fulfill the ID requirement, then mistakenly submitting the wrong info seems dangerously easy.

According to a press release from the Atlanta mayor’s office, her new executive action “directs the City’s Chief Equity Officer to develop a plan of action within the City’s authority to expand opportunity and access to the ballot box” through work to share necessary election-related information with the local population. Among other provisions, the order mandates the distribution of “information to City residents on how to obtain the forms of identification required for absentee voting,” and it also calls for the development of “Public Service Announcements and other communications to provide clarity on new voting related deadlines and timelines.”

This week, ex-President Trump spoke out about the suppressive new Georgia legislation and complained that it didn’t go as far as he wanted. He is continuing to hold fast to the false idea that he was the rightful winner of the 2020 presidential race.