Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon is facing felony and misdemeanor charges for knocking on Gov. Brian Kemp’s office door while he was signing a controversial new voting bill. The Georgia lawmaker was released from Fulton County Jail on Friday morning (March 26) and was charged with felony obstruction of law enforcement and a misdemeanor for preventing or disrupting General Assembly sessions.
“I am not the first Georgian to be arrested for fighting voter suppression,” she wrote on Twitter. “I’d love to say I’m the last, but we know that isn’t true.”
Video of Cannon’s arrest quickly circulated on social media on Thursday night (March 25), showing the representative knocking on the door of the governor’s office during the bill’s closed-door signing. Cannon argued for more transparency surrounding the legislation, but was forcibly removed from the state Capitol by two police officers.
“She was doing her job as an elected official,” state Rep. Erica Thomas told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “She was asking where the governor was and where the bill was being signed.”
Gov. Kemp signed the bill into law, which has been criticized by some as “Jim Crow 2.0.” The measure will enact new identification requirements for mail voters, limit the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots, prohibit voting groups from handing out water and food to voters waiting in line and shorten runoff races.
“To limit that right is to go against our Constitution and the ideals of the Founding Fathers that Conservative Georgians hold so dear. 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,” Cannon wrote on Facebook.
“SB 202 will tighten voter ID requirements, a problem that already disproportionately affects black and brown voters, and will also restrict where, how and when voters may return absentee ballots, a system used overwhelmingly by all Georgia voters this last year due to the COVID-19 crisis,” she continued. “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.”
See the video of Cannon’s arrest and her responses below.