For over three hours Monday, with over 1,000 people watching on livestream, the House debated HB 531-- the Republican omnibus bill trying to 'fix' nonexistent voting problems. The idea that we should pass laws to give our voters "more confidence" is predicated on two false premises: that Mr. Trump won in Georgia and the discredited, unproven claim that there was fraud.
Outside, people protesting the bill chanted in Liberty Plaza. Speaker Ralston allowed each party one hour for debate. I was honored to deliver the Minority Report (video below), on which I and Democratic Caucus members worked over the weekend. My intention was to set HB 531 in historical context, as another infringement on voting rights in a state with a long history of such infringements.
We coordinated our debate to showcase different voices, regions, and issues. The speech by Rep. Angelika Kausche, a German immigrant, reflecting on Germany’s easily accessible voting system, made our struggles seem especially absurd. Rep. Al Williams reminded us of Jim Crow disenfranchisement tactics and actual fraud in his first run for office, as well as his 17 arrests during the Civil Rights Movement. Our Caucus represented the true diversity of Georgia, with African American, Korean American, Vietnamese American, LGBTQ, urban, and rural people, and representatives of all ages and genders.
Despite all our efforts, the vote carried purely on partisan lines. It now crosses to the Senate for consideration, along with the Senate’s own omnibus voter suppression bill, SB 241 and other smaller bills.
It's not over yet. If you wish to participate further, write and call those in power to voice your concerns about these bills, especially if you have a relevant personal experience.