The group held signs that said “Let Us Vote” and “Protect Georgia Voting Rights,” drawing both jeers and cheers from motorists on busy Washington Road.
One man passing by shouted an insult against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp who signed new voter restrictions into law last month. But another yelled at protesters, “C'mon, you can vote! Get out of here!”
Georgia's law — which opponents say is designed to reduce the impact of minority voters by making it more difficult to cast a ballot — has drawn fire from around the country.
Major League Baseball yanked this summer's All-Star Game out of Atlanta to shows its displeasure with the new statute. There were calls to take the Masters from Augusta National, but the club ignored the outcry and its chairman, on the eve of golf's first major championship in 2021, declined to take a stand on the bill.
Georgia played a critical role in the last year's election, narrowly going for Joe Biden in the presidential race. He was the first Democrat to carry the state since 1992.
Also, the state's two incumbent Republican senators were defeated in a runoff by Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, giving Democrats control of the U.S. Senate. Nearly 5 million Georgians cast ballots, many using absentee or early voting methods.
“The last election had a record turnout,” said one of the protesters, Marla Cureton of Roswell in suburban Atlanta, who is part of a women's activist group known as No Safe Seats. “We should be celebrating this. It's a great thing.”
Instead, the GOP-controlled state Legislature passed a law that supporters say is designed to improve election security following baseless allegations by former President Donald Trump that he lost Georgia because of widespread fraud.
Other states around the country are considering similar laws.
Among other things, the Georgia law imposes additional identification requirements for absentee voting, gives the GOP-run state elections board new powers to intervene in local election offices, and restricts the distribution of water and food to voters standing in long lines.
“This bill is death by a thousand cuts,” Cureton said. “Anytime you put new restrictions on how you can vote, that's voter suppression. We should be making it easier to vote. It's the patriotic thing to do.”
She said the protesters staked out a corner about a half-mile from the front gate of Augusta National to bring attention to their cause.
“We have to keep awareness up,” Cureton said. "It's important in Georgia that people understand it's not going away."
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