Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp has signed a sweeping elections bill that civil rights groups are blasting as the worst voter suppression legislation since the Jim Crow era. The bill grants broad power to state officials to take control of election management from local and county election boards. It also adds new voter ID requirements, severely limits mail ballot drop boxes, rejects ballots cast in the wrong precinct and allows conservative activists to challenge the eligibility of an unlimited number of voters. One provision would even make it a crime to hand out food or water to voters waiting in line at polling places.
The legislation sailed through both chambers of Georgia’s Legislature Thursday and was approved along party lines. Governor Kemp signed the bill in private, surrounded by six white men.