During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week about voting rights, activist Stacey Abrams schooled Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) after he self-importantly asked her for a list of provisions in recently enacted voting restrictions in Georgia to which she is opposed. Kennedy’s question seemed to imply that Abrams wouldn’t have a list of specific provisions ready to go — but, well, she did. Kennedy seemed to be implicitly suggesting that Democratic opposition to new voting restrictions is based in optics rather than policy specifics, but he’s just incorrect.
Abrams told Kennedy as follows, discussing the Georgia legislation:
‘It shortens the federal run-off period from nine weeks to four weeks. It restricts the time a voter can request and return an absentee ballot application. It requires that a voter have a photo identification or some other form of identification that they’re willing to surrender in order to participate in the absentee ballot process… It eliminates over 300 hours of drop box availability… It bans nearly all out-of-precinct votes, meaning that if you get to a precinct, and you are in line for four hours, and you get to the end of the line, and you are not there between 5 and 7 P.M., you have to start all over again.’
These provisions, and others, could disproportionately impact Black voters and Georgians from other marginalized communities. For instance, highly populated areas with large Black communities would be more prone to having a large number of precincts and polling places, increasing the chance that a voter could accidentally go to the wrong one — and subsequently miss their chance to vote for the day.
Kennedy repeatedly interrupted Abrams, but she persisted. She added as follows, continuing to discuss the law:
‘It restricts the hours of operation, because it now, under the guise of setting a standardized timeline, it makes it optional for counties that may not want to see expanded access to the right to vote, they can now limit their hours. Instead of those hours being from 7 to 7, they’re now from 9 to 5, which may have an effect on voters who can not vote during business hours during early voting.’
Watch Abrams below:
Republican Senator John Kennedy asks @StaceyAbrams to give him a list of provisions in Georgia’s new voter suppression law that she objects to.
It’s a long list.
Give it a listen: pic.twitter.com/9R57K0HPfN
— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) April 20, 2021
The Georgia legislation — which was enacted despite the fact that no systematic issues were discovered under the state’s previous election guidelines — has already been hit with a handful of lawsuits.