Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon (D) was arrested on Thursday after she protested the passage of a controversial election reform bill by repeatedly banging on the door to a room where Gov. Brian Kemp (R) was holding a press conference, according to the Washington Examiner.
Georgia state troopers told reporters that Cannon was asked twice to stop banging on the door, but she obviously chose to disobey those commands, which resulted in her detainment.
The bill, which passed both houses of the state legislature and which Kemp signed on Thursday, puts in place voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, limits the use of drop boxes, allows state officials to take over local elections boards, and makes it illegal to approach voters waiting in line with food or drinks, the Examiner notes.
Bill is “racist” retaliation
Cannon, for her part, called the bill “racist” and “white supremacist” because of its restrictions, even though none of the restrictions are based on race.
In a tweet, Cannon also called the bill a “retaliation” for recent wins by Democratic candidates like President Joe Biden and Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA). Cannon happens to attend Warnock’s church.
In another tweet, she wrote: “And make no mistake, when I say hate, I mean white supremacy. The closed-door signing of #SB202 and the senseless murder of #AAPI Georgians are both products of a white supremacist system. Different tactics, same goal: fear and control.”
Cannon then tweeted that she was released from jail Friday morning and that she was “fighting voter suppression.”
Hey everyone, thank you for your support. I’ve been released from jail. 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. #SB202
— Representative Park Cannon (@Cannonfor58) March 26, 2021
Democrats cry foul
It has become politically popular for Democrats to refer to any voting restriction or reform as a type of “suppression,” even though many of the changes are aimed at preventing voter fraud in future elections.
While proof of voter fraud did not surface in time for election results to be changed, some results could have theoretically ended differently if the restrictions in the bill had been in place in November and January.
In particular, the combination of providing 24-hour drop boxes for mail-in ballots and not verifying the signatures on those ballots could have meant that any number of fraudulent votes were tallied in the 2020 elections. Given the close margins in several Georgia elections, including at the presidential level, election reforms like those that were passed this week could have had an enormous impact on the outcome.
Republicans have targeted swing-state voting bills to ensure election integrity in future elections after the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in the widespread use of mail-in ballots and extended early voting in a number of states for safety reasons. But only time will tell if their efforts ultimately prove successful.