independent– A Georgia lawmaker who was forcibly removed and arrested from the state’s Capitol as Governor Brian Kemp signed sweeping ballot restrictions into law has vowed to combat voter suppression, as an outpouring of support and outrage across the US has followed her arrest.
“I will not stand by while our voting rights are threatened across this state, the state I swore an oath to represent with integrity, honesty, and respect for the millions of people who live and work in this community,” Democratic state Rep Park Cannon said in a statement on Friday hours after her release from a Fulton County jail.
Widely shared video of her arrest shows Ms Cannon, who is Black, handcuffed with her arms behind her back after she was removed as Governor Kemp announced his signature on the Republican-backed legislation, which transfers election oversight from election officials and into the hands of Republican lawmakers, reduces the number of places where people can vote and makes it a criminal offence to provide food and water to people waiting in voting lines, among other provisions that disproportionately target Black voters.
“Voting is a constitutional right guaranteed to every person over the age of 18 born not only in Georgia but in every corner of the United States,” Ms Park said. “To limit that right is to go against our Constitution and the ideals of the Founding Fathers that Conservative Georgians hold so dear.”
She added: “So it confuses and concerns me that those same conservative lawmakers that are now fighting so hard to limit and suppress the voting rights of all Georgians, but specifically Black and brown voters, a population of voters who have historically been disenfranchised in this state.”