Durbin Slams Georgia Voting Restrictions As Deliberate Effort To Suppress Voters Of Color

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today slammed Georgia’s new voting restrictions that will make it harder for Georgians of color to vote.  In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin criticized the provisions included in the new law that will reduce the number of drop boxes available to voters in the Atlanta area, restrict access to and implement strict voter ID requirements for absentee ballots, and make it a criminal offense to provide food or water to voters waiting in line to cast a ballot. Georgia’s new law also empowers the Republican state legislature to exert more control over the State Election Board and county election officials.

“This new Georgia law isn't new at all. It emerges from a playbook that is over 120 years old. It goes all the way back to the 1890s when Reconstruction was followed by the Jim Crow era in the South,” Durbin said.  “Today's voter restrictions might not involve poll taxes, literacy tests, or counting the number of beans in a jar. But, like the laws passed in the Jim Crow era, Georgia's new voting law is a deliberate effort to suppress voters, particularly voters of color.”

Durbin continued, “The bottom line is this: Georgian Republicans didn't waste time taking a look at the voting results, where they lost two Senate seats for the first time in history, and decided that they had to change the rules. That too many voters showed up, the wrong voters. So they decided to change the rules and make it more difficult for those [voters], particularly minority voters who wanted to come and express themselves by the right to vote. So the question now is what are we going to do about it?”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

During his speech, Durbin called on Senate Republicans to support meaningful steps to protect voting rights in America. The For The People Act, which passed the House of Representatives last month, would limit the influence of dark money and special interests on our politics and modernize our election administration system.  It would require all big-money contributors and special interests to disclose their donors, and tighten the rules surrounding Super PACs. Additionally, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which has not yet been reintroduced, is needed to restore the Voting Rights Act and combat discriminatory voter suppression laws.