Arrested lawmaker vows to keep fighting Georgia voting law

ATLANTA — A Georgia state lawmaker who was arrested at the state capitol after the governor signed a sweeping new election law urged people on Thursday to continue fighting that law.

Rep. Park Cannon, an Atlanta Democrat was arrested March 25 after knocking on the door of the governor's office as he made livestreamed comments in support of the controversial new election law he'd just signed. She has turned her action that day into a rallying cry.

“Today, I vow to you that I will keep knocking and I ask you, Georgia, to keep knocking. America, keep knocking. All of the marginalized people, keep knocking,” Cannon said during a news conference. The remarks came a day after Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis announced she wouldn't pursue charges against Cannon.

After the legislature had adjourned on March 25, Cannon said, she heard that Gov. Brian Kemp planned to sign the election bill and wanted to be in the room.

“I wanted Kemp to have to look at my face and see the pain and disappointment, the contempt that I had for his insidious act of betrayal against Georgia voters, Georgia citizens,” she said.

The new law follows former President Donald Trump’s repeated, baseless claims of voter fraud after he narrowly lost to President Joe Biden in the state that has reliably voted for Republican presidential candidates in recent decades.

Kemp and other supporters of the GOP-backed law have said it was necessary to restore voter confidence and to ensure that the state's elections are secure, accessible and fair. But Democrats and other critics have raised concerns about increased partisan influence in elections and said it will suppress votes, particularly in communities of colour.

The law adds a new photo ID requirement to vote absentee by mail, gives the legislature more control over election administration, gives State Election Board new powers to replace local election officials, prohibits people from giving water and snacks to people waiting in line, and makes some changes to early voting, among other things.

Cannon said it is important for voters to know what's in the law.

“As terrible and suppressive as it is, it is still the law," she said. "Until we have changed the new law, we must understand the new law.”

Cannon appeared Thursday with her arm in a sling and her lawyers say she is still receiving treatment for injuries suffered during her arrest. Attorneys Gerald Griggs and state Rep. David Dreyer, who are representing Cannon, said they are still investigating and considering what legal action they may take.

Kate Brumback, The Associated Press