Party Resolutions

Resolution 2021-06: Regarding Georgia’s Voter Suppression Law

Approved: 4/9/2021

AN EMERGENCY RESOLUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON

Regarding Georgia’s Voter Suppression Law

WHEREAS, on March 25, 2021, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law Senate Bill 202 (SB 202), called the “Election Integrity Act of 2021, also known (and more accurately described) as the “Voter Suppression Act of 2021,” or “Jim Crow 2.0;” and

WHEREAS, SB 202 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by making it harder for Black and Brown Georgians to access the ballot; and

WHEREAS, SB 202 also violates the first and fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution by creating burdensome and discriminatory effects on the right to vote for all citizens; and

WHEREAS, SB 202 requires Georgia voters requesting and submitting absentee ballots to provide a driver’s license or state ID card number, which presents an undue bureaucratic and financial burden for many voters, especially low-income voters and racial and ethnic minorities; and

WHEREAS, SB 202 sets a new deadline for Georgia voters to request mail-in ballots at  no earlier than 11 weeks before a primary, general or runoff election, making it less convenient and unnecessarily difficult to access the right to vote; and

WHEREAS, this new 11-week timeline, cut from a deadline of 180 days before an election, will give voters less than half the time they had in 2020 to request mail-in ballots; and

WHEREAS, if a voter lives in Fulton County, Georgia, an example of an area of heavily registered Black voters, SB 202 mandates that a voter will no longer be able to use one of two mobile voting buses (“polling stations”) to help mitigate the difficulties of long lines and long wait times, except during an emergency declared by the governor; and

WHEREAS, voters in Atlanta reported waiting six hours or more to cast in-person votes in the 2020 general election; and

WHEREAS, SB 202 inhumanely impacts both in-person early voting and election-day voting by prohibiting anyone except poll workers from handing out water to voters in line and criminalizes distribution of food or water to voters within 150 feet of the building that serves as a poll, inside a polling place, or within 25 feet of any voter standing in line; and 

WHEREASSB 202 substantially restricts the use of ballot drop-boxes by mandating that they be located in early voting locations and only accessible during early voting days and hours, instead of  the usual 24/7 access until polling ends; and

WHEREAS, SB 202 further limits the use of ballot drop-boxes by mandating no availability in the last four days of an election when drop-boxes are especially useful due to potential postage delays, possibly causing ballots to arrive too late to be counted; and

WHEREAS, SB 202 further ties electoral infrastructure to partisan politics by removing the Georgia Secretary of State as chair of the Georgia State Election Board (SEB) and instead giving partisan state legislators far-reaching control over state and local election procedures, including even the power to decide which votes will be counted; and 

WHEREAS, SB 202 serves no political state interest other than to make absentee, early, and election-day voting more difficult, especially for Black and Brown voters, low-income voters, and other racial and ethnic minorities; and

WHEREAS, President Joe Biden has called GOP efforts to enact the new voting restrictions in SB 202  “sick,” “un-American,” and “Jim Crow on steroids;” and

WHEREAS, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, over 361 voter restriction bills have been filed in 47 states that will make it more difficult to vote.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. We urge legislators to do everything in their power to pass H.R. 1, the “For the People Act of 2021,” to expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, to stop states from enforcing discriminatory voting laws, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy.

Section 2. We call upon American state and local governments to look to Oregon’s nation-leading model to simplify the voting process and expand voters’ access to their democracy, including conducting all elections by paper ballots sent to voters that can be returned at any county drop-box until polls close on Election Day, or by mail.

Section 3. We remember the State Central Committee’s words in Resolution 2005-002, which voices support for amending the U.S. Constitution to guarantee access to voting rights for all Americans over the age of 18, and notes that long delays at polling places and other logistical impediments to voting constitute disenfranchisement. 

Section 4. We reaffirm the commitment made by this Party’s State Central Committee in Resolution 2017-002 to support “one person, one vote” and the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which Oregon joined in 2019 when Gov. Kate Brown signed SB 870, the National Popular Vote Bill.

Section 5. We condemn SB 202 and similar legislation in the post-Shelby County wave of state laws that make it harder for Americans to vote as racist, unethical, and undemocratic attempts at voter suppression. 

Section 6. We declare that the ability of all eligible voters to cast their ballots with a minimum of inconvenience is a fundamental tenet of a representative democratic republic. 

Section 7. We reaffirm our commitment to use our Party’s voices and resources to the fullest extent possible, to fight for free and fair elections, and to combat oppression and discrimination wherever they may be found.

Resolution submitted by Rosa Colquitt, PhD, Vice Chair, DPO Administration Committee and Chair, DPO R.E.A.L. Special Committee – Racial Equity, Accountability and Leadership.

ADOPTED by the Democratic Party of Oregon on April 9th, 2021.