WASHINGTON, D.C. – Georgia’s Republican Governor, Brian Kemp, hid behind a locked door to sign his controversial new voter suppression bill into law, but Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon wasn’t going to let him suppress her constituents’ voices in secrecy. She calmly knocked on his door to ask for transparency and to witness him putting his name on a bill that restricts absentee and early voting, limits drop boxes, and makes it a crime for groups to give water to voters waiting in line.
Rep. Cannon is Black and became Georgia’s youngest lawmaker at just 24, one of only three openly gay elected representatives when she first won her seat in 2016. She knows that Brian Kemp and his allies will do whatever it takes to disenfranchise voters like her and those she represents.
The bill Kemp signed is anti-American by definition and undermines democracy at every step. The new law is unjust retribution in response to the record number of minority voters who participated in the 2020 election, flipping Georgia for the Democrats. It creates unnecessary obstacle after unnecessary obstacle to prevent Black, Brown and other marginalized voters from participating in elections and strips the secretary of state of the authority to run elections, putting that power in the hands of partisan lawmakers.
As caught on video, Georgia state troopers forcibly, and aggressively removed Rep. Cannon, physically dragging her through the Capitol and shoving her into a police car. She was charged with two felonies – obstruction of law enforcement and disrupting the legislative session.
This disturbing confrontation demonstrated the jarring dichotomy of how people of color and white people are treated when they practice their first amendment right. It’s also a sign of an alarming trend happening across the country. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, there are currently 253 voter suppression bills that have been introduced in 43 states.
NOW stands with Rep. Cannon, determined to fight to protect the rights of voters like the ones Brian Kemp wants to exclude. The right to vote is the most sacred democratic value and should be afforded to all Americans. Instead of silencing one woman’s voice, Kemp’s actions have mobilized a movement and our voices will be heard.
The right to vote is our fight to vote—and we won’t back down.
NOW joins our Georgia NOW chapter in support of Rep. Park Cannon and the continued fight against voter suppression.
Statement from Georgia NOW President Trian Arnold-James below:
“Senate Bill 202 infringes on the rights of the minority community. This bill referencing voter access significantly makes it easier to disqualify provisional ballots, limiting ballot drop boxes, and requires identification to vote absentee. These restrictions will keep voters from exercising their constitutional rights.
Georgia NOW stands with Rep. Park Cannon. Not only has she been an advocate for our core issues, she has fought with us every step of the way. This law and her arrest is an example of the Jim Crow laws that has plagued the south since the mid 1900s. We cannot allow this law to stand and violate our constitutional right. We will fight!“