The New Jim Crow Party Declares War on Voting Rights and Democracy

photos by Gloria Tatum

White supremacy is alive and well under the Gold Dome in Georgia, as Republicans use Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen to pass voter suppression bills. Under Trump’s false flag of voter fraud, the GOP attempts to fix this imaginary problem by making it harder for people of color, Asian Americans, LGBTQ, formerly incarcerated, and young people to vote. 

They claim they are attempting to eradicate voter fraud to restore confidence in the voting system but all they are doing is reviving Jim Crow laws to rig the next election.  Most Republicans are too cowardly to stand up to Trump and too cowardly to tell their supporters the truth that Biden won in a fair election with zero evidence of fraud. Trump filed over 60 lawsuits contesting the election and lost everyone in the courts. 

The changing demographics in the United States make it difficult for Republicans to win with a 99% white supremacists base. The more Jim Crow Republicans repeat Trump’s lies, the more traditional conservatives are leaving to become Independents. 

In the 2020 General Election, approximately five million Georgians voted in the middle of a deadly pandemic to remove Trump and voted again in the run-off to flip the U.S. Senate. To prevent this from happening again, Republicans are busy introducing voter suppression bills to disenfranchise Black, Brown, Latino, Asian, LGBTQ, formerly incarcerated, and young voters in Georgia. They fear the growing voting power of minorities and young people who are more diverse and progressive.

30 Organizations Continue Anti-Voter Suppression Protest at State Capitol

“What you guys are doing by purging voters and erecting barriers to the ballot is antithetical to free and fair elections. There are 71 bills currently pending to ban drop boxes, to ban early absentee voting, to move drop boxes inside, all kinds of things that are counterproductive to a functioning democracy. We are going to fight this in the streets, we are going to fight this on the floor, and we will fight this in the courts,” Attorney Gerald Griggs, Justice Fighter with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said at an anti-voter suppression protest in front of the state capitol.

“You can definitely expect lawsuits before these bills take action.  We are gathering a group of lawyers including the National Bar Association, which is the oldest  Black Bar Association, the NAACP, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Lawyers Committee.  We fully expect to sue if these bills pass,” Attorney Griggs told the Streets of Atlanta.

Georgia is not alone in experiencing the return of Jim Crow laws. Currently, there are 253 bills in 48 states to restrict voting access. Arizona actually has a proposed law to allow the state legislature to overturn presidential election results. It is a nationwide coordinated effort to change voting laws to give an advantage to Republicans who don’t have enough white people or diversity to win legitimately.  These voter suppression bills are a backlash to Democrats who won in Georgia, won the Presidency, and won in the Senate and the House of Representative.

These bills “are an egregious attack to stop Black and Brown people from voting. This is only energizing us to register more and get out to vote more. You will not take us backward or take away our right to vote,” State Representative Sandra Scott said at the voter suppression protest.

“SB 241 and HB 531 are two of the worst pieces of racist and malicious legislation since the end of Reconstruction,” Gloria Jenkins, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia’s Senior Caucus, said.  

SB 241 seeks to end no-excuse absentee ballot voting which helped to protect millions of lives in a deadly pandemic, especially seniors who voted by absentee ballots in the November 3 election. It severely limits who is eligible to vote by mail and requires additional ID requirements.

Ironically, it was a Republican Legislature that introduced no-excuse absentee voting in Georgia in 2005 and loved it until Democrats used no-excuse absentee voting during the pandemic and won.  Now Republicans want to change the rules and restrict no-excuse absentee ballot voting to people over 75, Georgians who are currently out of state, and the disabled. 

HB 531 will change Georgia’s election infrastructure and make every aspect of voting harder. It will put more racist restrictions on voting and access to voting. It specifically targets Black people by ending the Black church tradition of Souls to the Polls.

 HB 531 will restrict ballot drop box access to inside early vote locations, add two ID requirements for mail-in voting, restrict weekend voting, ends early voting on Sundays prior to the election, bans mass mailing of absentee ballot request forms from state and local governments, require labeling on absentee ballot request forms mailed by private organizations, disqualify provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct, restrict mobile voting buses and much more. 

HB 531 is all-encompassing and has rolled many of the smaller voter suppression bills into this one large bill.

Here is a link to the Special Committee on ElectionIntegrity –  https://www.legis.ga.gov/committees/house/193Click on the arrow beside Committee Members and then click on assigned legislation.  There you will find 3 pages of 50 bills dealing with elections.

Georgia has a long history of racism and voter suppression from poll taxes to literacy tests to prevent Black people from voting and always with the excuse of combating voter fraud. Over fifty years after the Civil Rights Act, people are still standing in front of the Georgia State Capitol protesting voter suppression and the right to vote. 

 “Now those who claim to be our leaders have shown the rest of the country that Georgia’s enduring dark legacy of voter suppression and racist policy masked in so-called “voter integrity” has not been erased by time….. Those lawmakers are willing to undermine the very foundations of democracy to protect white supremacy,” Rev. James Woodall, State President NAACP, said standing across the street from the state capitol

“Georgia’s business community must decide on which side they will stand – on the side of the people, or on the side of the second coming of Jim Crow,” Rev. Woodall said.

African-Americans have fought, bled, and died for the right to vote and if these Jim Crow Republicans think they can drag them back to the 1950s or even further back into America’s racist past, they are more delusional than their base and the loser demi-god they worship.

“Our ancestors died for the right to vote and they are trying to take our right to vote away.  We have been fighting against voter suppression for decades and we will not tolerate this anymore.  Voting is our human right – our civil right.  The only way they [Republicans] think they can win is by taking Black people’s voting rights away. Some have been in there for 20 years or longer and it’s time for them to go, we have to vote them out,” Dre Normando Love, with Alliance for Black Lives, told the Streets of Atlanta.

The Republican Party is now Trump’s White Supremacists Party, and their national strategy seems to be to disenfranchise enough people of color and white people who do not share their racist ideology so that Trump can win in 2024 with his dwindling white supremacists’ base. If Republicans continue to run down Trump’s doomsday rabbit hole of lies, revenge, and conspiracy theories they may destroy their party and democracy.

There are real problems in the county, a deadly pandemic that has killed over one-half million Americans, millions out of work, kids out of school, but Republicans are not concerned about real problems. They are concerned about preventing Blacks from voting in the next election to maintain their power and to appease Trump’s delusion that he won. This is happening all over the country and it is anti-democratic.

The Country Needs Federal Intervention to Save Voting Rights

In 2013, a conservative Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA). Section 5 required states with a history of discrimination against minority voters to get preclearance from the federal government before changing voting laws. When preclearance was repealed from the VRA, the old Jim Crow laws that placed barriers to voting roared back, and now voters who are discriminated against bear the burden of proving they were disenfranchised.

“The GOP has made it clear that we need urgent federal action to safeguard the voting rights of the most vulnerable. We need Congress to pass HR 1 and HR 4 to protect voters from these efforts to destroy the rights afforded to all of us by our citizenship,” Gloria Jenkins, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia’s Senior Caucus, said at a rally.  

HR 1 “The For the People Act” will expand voting rights, reduce the influence of money in politics, limit partisan gerrymandering, and more. It passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and now that Democrats are the majority in the Senate it can pass to become law.

HR 4 “The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act” will combat racial discrimination in voting by restoring and strengthening the protections of the Voting Rights Act. It too was passed in the U.S. House and can now pass the Senate. 

These federal bills when they become law will invalidate all these racist Jim Crow voter suppression bills being passed in statehouses throughout the nation.

This is a new Georgia with a new generation of voters, and the old white supremacists who fought against integration and the Civil Rights Movement do not represent the new Georgia. The new and old white supremacists need to be voted out of power to make way for a new generation of diversified and progressive Georgians who will lead us into the future and make this a better state for all the people.

What You Can Do 

Call your U.S. Senators at 202-224-3121 and ask for Senator Warnock and Senator Ossoff and tell them to vote for SB 1 and SB 4.  Next, call your state representatives and tell them to vote against all the voter suppression bills that come to the floor for a vote.  https://www.legis.ga.gov/find-my-legislator

We must go all out to defend democracy and secure our right to vote against white supremacists in Congress and statehouses.

written by Gloria Tatum

One thought on “The New Jim Crow Party Declares War on Voting Rights and Democracy

  1. Great Gloria. Tom went down last Saturday and could not even get close to the capitol. Good report. How disgusting are those Republicans! S

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