Many critics believe that Georgia’s new voting laws will lead to voter suppression.
Atlanta Mayor Lance Bottoms Seeks to Limit Damage of New Georgia Voter Laws
As the leader of Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms does not have authority to change Georgia’s new voting laws, which many critics believe will lead to voter suppression.
However, Mayor Bottoms has not let that stop her from using her platform to educate her constituents on the new law.
Bottoms introduced an executive order that enables the city’s chief equity officer to implement “a series of actions to mitigate the impact” of the new voting rules, which many Republicans say will reduce voter fraud and increase voting integrity.
In a statement, Bottoms said, “The voting restrictions of SB 202 will disproportionately impact Atlanta residents—particularly in communities of color and other minority groups. The Administrative Order is designed to do what those in the majority of the state legislature did not—expand access to our right to vote.”
The Root reported, “The order will direct the city to educate voters on which IDs they need to vote, staff training and voter education. More specifically, Bottoms’ order calls for training of staff on issues such as voter registration along with early, absentee and in-person voting ‘in order that they may communicate this information to City residents.’ It will also address how voter information is disseminated.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, “The order also seeks coordination with businesses and community leaders to create Public Service Announcements to explain the newest voting related deadlines and timelines.”
The new restrictive voter laws have led many companies to speak out against it, calling the rules discriminatory.
Major League Baseball moved the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver as a result of the new law.
Furthermore, Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola and other companies have spoken out against the new voter laws, which have caused some conservatives like former President Donald Trump to call for a boycott of those “woke” companies.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp complained about Major League Baseball moving the All-Star Game from Atlanta because he said that Colorado’s voting laws have similarities with the new Georgia laws.
The Root reported, “Georgia’s new laws moves the state from Colorado’s vote-by-mail approach, pushing more voters to show up in person. For example, under the new law, Georgia elections officials can only mail out absentee applications to voters who individually request it, shutting down one approach to encouraging mail balloting. And voters will have a shorter window to ask for those ballots. (Georgia sent out absentee applications to millions of voters in the 2020 primary, even if they hadn’t requested it, to encourage absentee voting during the pandemic).
“The Georgia law also bans mobile voting centers, and it strictly limits the uses of drop boxes. This is another area where Colorado is moving in the opposite direction. Colorado had one drop box per 9,400 active registered voters for the last election, with the secretary of state boasting about adding scores of new locations in the past few years.”
On the contrary, Georgia has one voter drop box per 100,000 active registered voters.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported, “Voting drop boxes can only be located inside early voting locations and available during voting hours. Georgians will be required to provide a driver’s license number, state ID number and other documentation when requesting an absentee ballot. Voters will have to request absentee ballots at least 11 days before an election…
“Volunteers can no longer provide food and water to voters inside of the voting building, within 150 feet of the building, and within 25 feet of anyone waiting in line to vote. The law gives the Republican-controlled Legislature more power over local elections officials, and it extends weekend voting in some rural counties.”
While many voting rights groups have praised Major League Baseball’s decision to relocate the midsummer classic to Denver, small business owners have said that the decision will severely hurt them in the pocket, especially after the loss of revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Furthermore, many criticized Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game from a city that is 51 percent African-American to a city that is only 9.2 percent African-American.
The difference in demographics will cause many Black-owned businesses to suffer in Atlanta, presumably while many White-owned businesses in Denver benefit from the relocation.
Nearly 30 percent of businesses in Atlanta have African-American ownership.
Tudy Rodney, owner of Rodney’s Jamaican Soul Food Restaurant in Atlanta, said that the relocation of the All-Star Game comes at horrible time for his business, calling the move “crushing.”
Rodney said, “We’re trying to build back from a pandemic that happened last year, and something like this is not good for business. Rodney’s will suffer.”
Although the coronavirus pandemic caused the 2020 Major League Baseball All-Star Game’s cancellation, the 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland generated approximately $65 million in regional economic activity.
However, Alfredo Ortiz, CEO of Job Creators Network, said that the relocation of the All-Star Game will cost Atlanta over $100 million.
Speaking about the struggles of businesses in 2020, Ortiz said, “They’re barely making it out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now they’re (facing) under the Biden administration potentially higher taxes, higher minimum wage, more red tape and regulations, now this.”
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the decision to relocate the All-Star Game last Friday.
Manfred said, “Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and the Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views. Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”