Following Democrats’ stunning victories in Georgia in November and again in the January U.S. Senate runoffs, the Peach State has once again become ground zero for Republican voter suppression efforts. The latest iteration of their fight to shrink the vote is House Bill 531, which passed Monday in the Republican-controlled Georgia House of Representatives. The legislation adds new restrictions to in-person and absentee voting, including adding new ID requirements and limiting the early voting period that was so crucial to Democrats’ recent successes. The bill now heads to the GOP-controlled Georgia Senate, where an identical measure was introduced last month. If it passes there, it’ll be sent to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. He has not endorsed the legislation but said he would support an effort “to further secure the vote.”
Nsé Ufot has been fighting efforts like this to suppress Democratic and, in particular, minority voter turnout since 2014, when she became CEO of the New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan organization focused on registering Georgians to vote and helping them be engaged in the civic process. The group was prolific during the 2020 election, knocking on 2 million doors, making more than 7 million phone calls, and sending about 4 million texts. Their efforts paid off: The organization helped add more than half a million young people and people of color to Georgia’s voter rolls.
Ufot spoke to GEN about Republicans’ latest attempt at restricting voting in the state, which issues are the most urgent for Georgians, and why Democrats need to take action at the federal level to pass House Resolution 1, also known as the For the People Act, which would expand and strengthen voting rights in the United States. The bill passed the House on Wednesday but faces steep odds in the Senate, where it would need to clear a filibuster-proof supermajority in order to land on President Biden’s desk.
GEN: Talk to me about HB 531.
Nsé Ufot: It comes as no surprise, after Georgia flips blue for the first time since 1993, that Republicans went…