Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Tuesday issued an administrative order directing the chief equity officer to “mitigate the impact of new voting restrictions imposed by Senate Bill 202” on Atlanta residents. This is the latest action in a growing response to what President Joe Biden called “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”
SB 202, the Election Integrity Act of 2021, makes sweeping changes to voting laws within the state, including imposing restrictions on absentee voting, limiting the use of ballot drop-boxes, and imposing new identification requirements. Civil rights groups say it will disenfranchise voters of color, while Governor Brian Kemp maintains the purpose of SB 202 is to help ensure election integrity.
The mayor’s administrative order seeks to provide Atlanta and area residents with information regarding the next election as early as possible. This includes informing how to register to vote and obtain the required identification. The order includes the creation of a communication system to “provide clarity on new voting related deadlines and timelines” to city residents.
Bottoms stated that 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.”
SB 202 has been widely criticized. Civil rights groups in Georgia and the NAACP have each filed lawsuits over the bill; more than 170 corporations—including Dropbox, H&M and Microsoft—signed a letter calling on elected officials to ensure that every American “has the freedom to easily cast their ballot and participate fully in our democracy.” In a public and direct response to the bill, Major League Baseball moved its all-star game from Atlanta to Denver.