It can’t get any more on the nose than this: As Georgia Governor Brian Kemp was signing a sweeping anti-democratic bill meant to disenfranchise the state’s Black voters into law, one Black lawmaker was arrested for simply knocking on his door.
Democratic state Representative Park Cannon was among a group of protesters attempting to enter the chamber where Kemp was eagerly enacting a sweeping bill that significantly curtails voting access in the state. Pushed only by Republicans, some have called the legislation Jim Crow 2.0. Cannon knocked on his door, and after a discussion with law enforcement officers guarding Kemp’s chambers, they handcuffed her and forcibly took her through the capitol building. The officers were well aware that Cannon is an elected official—Cannon herself told them—but that didn’t seem to matter.
“Under arrest for what? For trying to see something our governor is doing?” one of the protesters with Cannon said in a video shared by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein that shows the arrest.
Cannon was charged with obstruction of law enforcement and disrupting General Assembly sessions. She was released on bond late Thursday night. “We will not live in fear and we will not be controlled,” Cannon wrote in a tweet on Thursday evening after her release. “We have a right to our future and a right to our freedom. We will come together and continue fighting white supremacy in all its forms.”
The bill, pushed eagerly by Republicans, goes so far as to criminalize the provision of food and water to people standing in long lines to vote—long lines that exist only because of decades of Republican fuckery to begin with. Here’s more, via the Washington Post:
The new law imposes new identification requirements for those casting ballots by mail; curtails the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots; allows electors to challenge the eligibility of an unlimited number of voters and requires counties to hold hearings on such challenges within 10 days; makes it a crime for third-party groups to hand out food and water to voters standing in line; blocks the use of mobile voting vans, as Fulton County did last year after purchasing two vehicles at a cost of more than $700,000; and prevents local governments from directly accepting grants from the private sector.
Almost immediately, voting rights organizations, including the New Georgia Project and Black Votes Matter, sued the state in federal court. As the New Georgia Project’s Nsé Ufot put it in a statement, “Make no mistake: Republicans are using Georgia as a testing ground for their latest voter suppression experiments. We are here to say that enough is enough. We will not be your punching bag.”
Ufot added a message to Democrats in the Senate: “And to members of Congress, may this be your cue to immediately restore the Voting Rights Advancement Act and pass the For The People Act. You have a duty to the American people to uphold the cornerstone of our democracy. Anything less just won’t do.”