This week, voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams once again called for the swift enactment of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, both of which are proposed pieces of federal legislation that would enact a slew of protections for voting rights. The For the People Act contains an array of provisions to make voting in federal elections more accessible, while the John Lewis Voting Rights Act would re-establish a requirement for federal authorities to approve certain changes to the conducting of elections before their implementation, with the hope of stopping at least certain instances of voter suppression before they start.
Specifically, Abrams also responded to news of a high voter registration rate in Georgia. As she explained it, whether voters are registered isn’t the only test for voter suppression — there’s also the issue of whether those voters have opportunities to both cast a ballot and have it be counted. In Georgia, Republican leaders recently enacted a slew of new election restrictions that make accomplishing those latter tasks more difficult. For example, the wide-ranging elections law signed by Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp includes a limit on the number of drop boxes for mail-in ballots per county. In particular, that limit allows for no more than one drop box in each county for each 100,000 active registered voters or early voting site, whichever number is smaller — and that’s it. The new restrictions could force Fulton County, which includes Atlanta, to go from the 38 drop boxes it had last year to just eight in future election cycles.
The restrictions that have been put in place do not respond to any documented problem of systematic election integrity, since such an issue does not exist in the United States. The restrictions just make voting more difficult, especially for marginalized and disadvantaged individuals. Abrams commented as follows in direct response to a story about the high voter registration rate in Georgia:
‘Reminder – voter suppression has 3 tests: 1. Can you register & stay on the rolls? 2. Can you cast a ballot? 3. Does your ballot get counted? States (like GA) mix & match obstacles. We need [the For The People Act] + [John Lewis Voting Rights Act]. Stay alert. Stay the course. #OurTimeIsNow’
The For the People Act has been filibustered by Senate Republicans but could be brought up again, while the John Lewis Voting Rights Act has just recently been introduced in the House. See Abrams’s comments about the issue below:
Reminder – voter suppression has 3 tests:
1. Can you register & stay on the rolls?
2. Can you cast a ballot?
3. Does your ballot get counted?
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) August 20, 2021