Georgia Gov. Kemp Signs New Voting Law as Democratic Legislator Is Arrested in State Capitol

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The law, which has been highly criticized by Democrats, was initially designed to address the controversy in Georgia during the 2020 election.

On Thursday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a new set of voting regulations, giving the legislature more control of the elections in the state. The new law, which has been criticized by the Democratic party, requires a photo ID to vote absentee by mail, shortens the time people have to request one and changes where the ballot drop box can be accessed.

The bill, SB 202, passed in the state House with a vote of 100-75 before passing in the state Senate. The law was initially designed to address the controversy in Georgia during the 2020 election.

“Significant reforms to our state elections were needed,” Kemp said after signing the bill. “There’s no doubt there were many alarming issues with how the election was handled, and those problems, understandably, led to a crisis of confidence in the ballot box here in Georgia.” 

Democrats have argued strongly against the law, saying that it will make it harder for people of color to vote.

"It's like the Christmas tree of goodies for voter suppression," Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan said on the Senate floor Thursday.

President Joe Biden also expressed his disapproval of the law in a press conference on Thursday.

“What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is,” Biden said. “It’s sick.” 

During the signing of the law by Kemp in a closed-door ceremony, Democratic state Rep. Park Cannon knocked on Kemp’s statehouse office door to reportedly ask for transparency of the bill signing, and she was subsequently handcuffed by two state Capitol police officers.

Cannon was charged with two misdemeanors, obstruction of law enforcement and preventing or disrupting the General Assembly, according to police. Cannon was released that night from the Fulton County Jail on $6,000 bond.

Lt. W. Mark Riley, spokesman for the Georgia State Patrol, said in a statement Thursday that before her arrest, Cannon was asked to stop knocking on the door and advised that she was “disturbing” what was happening.

Cannon took to Twitter after her release.

"I am not the first Georgian to be arrested for fighting voter suppression. I’d love to say I’m the last, but we know that isn’t true,” Cannon wrote. ”But someday soon that last person will step out of jail for the last time and breathe a first breath knowing that no one will be jailed again for fighting for the right to vote."

She also thanked everyone for their love and support in another tweet.