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SPLC Action Fund: Within One Afternoon, a Monumental Shift in Georgia Election Law to Codify 2020’s Deadly Big Lie

ATLANTA – At the beginning of today, it was not clear Georgia’s House of Representatives would even take up an amended version of SB 202 that passed earlier this week in committee. Tonight, SB 202 is law. 

At 12:51PM, the House had passed 100-75 a further amended SB 202 with today’s amendments unavailable online. At 5:23PM, the Georgia Senate had taken up the new SB 202, debate it, and passed it 34-20.  An official printed version of SB 202 was ready before final passage for Governor Brian Kemp to sign at a press conference he both scheduled and held tonight after spending the day announcing COVID-19 vaccines are available to all Georgia adults. 

The following statement about today’s House of Representatives and Senate passage of SB 202 and its signing by Governor Kemp is from Nancy Abudu, deputy legal director for the SPLC Action Fund:

“To prevent Georgia voters, community leaders, and the business community from being able to understand the full impacts of SB 202 – much less mount any kind of opposition – Georgia leaders within one afternoon sprinted through a codification of the dangerous and deadly Big Lie of 2020.

“Cowering to extremists and disseminators of disinformation about our elections has been the overall policy agenda of Georgia’s leaders this legislative session. Dozens of frivolous court cases in Georgia failed last year that this legislation is based on.

“Thousands of voters have made it clear that the types of provisions in SB 202 are unacceptable and will disproportionately harm historically disenfranchised communities, young voters, and voters with disabilities.

“The speed and magnitude of today’s shift in election policy in Georgia is unprecedented and unlike any other major policy shift in the state’s recent history.

Georgia’s democracy and election administration were stressed in 2020, but today’s actions by the Legislature ensures 2020 was only the beginning. Voters deserve to easily access the ballot and to have the confidence that when they participate in the democratic process, their ballots will count.”