Congressman Hank Johnson says Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is ‘putting his knee on the neck of voters’


Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson criticized Gov. Brian Kemp over the passage of Georgia’s new election bill, comparing it to the May murder of George Floyd.

Johnson was on CNN in the aftermath of the passage of the state’s legislation, which puts new restrictions on voting in the state.

‘Just like that officer had his knee on the neck of George Floyd, what the governor was inside closed doors in secret doing was putting his knee on the neck of Georgia’s voters,’ Johnson said during his segment.

Floyd was killed after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, restricting Floyd’s ability to breathe.

Chavin’s trial in Floyd’s death began earlier this month.

Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson criticized the passage of Georgia’s new election bill

Johnson compared the passage of the new legislation to the May murder of George Floyd

Johnson compared the passage of the new legislation to the May murder of George Floyd

‘He was in his office, behind closed doors, doing with a collection of good old boys with him,’ Johnson continued, referencing Kemp.

According to CNN, the new bill – which was signed on Thursday evening after passing both legislative chambers in the state – will impose a number of new voting restrictions.

Among them, there will be new voter requirements to identify absentee ballots, state officials will have the ability to take over local election boards, and ballot drop box usage will be limited.

The law replaces the elected secretary of state as the chair of the state election board with a new appointee of the legislature after Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger rebuffed Trump’s attempts to overturn Georgia’s election results. It also allows the board to remove and replace county election officials deemed to be underperforming.

Additionally, it will be a crime for people to approach voters in long election lines to provide food or water.

‘It’s like the Christmas tree of goodies for voter suppression,’ said Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan prior to the vote.

Three voting rights groups have already banded together to file a lawsuit to challenge the law.

‘These provisions lack any justification for their burdensome and discriminatory effects on voting,’ the lawsuit said.

‘Instead, they represent a hodgepodge of unnecessary restrictions that target almost every aspect of the voting process but serve no legitimate purpose or compelling state interest other than to make absentee, early, and election-day voting more difficult – especially for minority voters.’

However, Kemp has defended the law as providing security.

‘After the November election last year, I knew, like so many of you, that significant reforms to our state elections were needed,’ said Kemp, who drew Trump’s ire after certifying Biden’s victory in Georgia.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the legislation after it passed the state's chambers Thursday

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the legislation after it passed the state’s chambers Thursday

Kemp refused to overturn the election results in his state in 2020, irking Donald Trump

Kemp refused to overturn the election results in his state in 2020, irking Donald Trump

Johnson also commented on the arrest of Park Cannon, a state representative who was taken away by state troopers after knocking on the door where Kemp was announcing the bill. 

‘Well it’s a throwback to the past,’ Johnson said. ‘It’s actually almost like a knee on the neck of Georgia voters.

‘She simply knocked on the door, and for that action, her hands were cuffed behind her back like a common criminal, and she was literally dragged from the capitol of Georgia.

State lawmaker Park Cannon chose to protest the new legislation on Thursday night

State lawmaker Park Cannon chose to protest the new legislation on Thursday night

Cannon's protest resulted in her arrest and she's facing two charges in the incident

Cannon’s protest resulted in her arrest and she’s facing two charges in the incident

‘You couldn’t even go into the Capitol. Now you can go in, but it’s a law against knocking on the door seeking entry, and it’s something that will not stand.’ 

NPR reports that Cannon is facing a charge of obstructing law enforcement officers by use of threats or violence.

She is also facing a charge of disrupting general assembly sessions or other meetings of members.

Her arrest warrant claims that she ‘stomped’ on the foot of an officer three times during the arrest.

Cannon was released the same night and may have been bruised during the arrest.

 ‘This was a law enforcement overreach on all the charges, and my hope is that after examining the file, the district attorney will dismiss the charges,’ Cannon´s lawyer, Gerald Griggs, said Friday. 

Georgia was one of the sites of the most controversy during the most recent presidential election.

Joe Biden became the first Democrat in almost 30 years to carry the presidential election in the state.

Two runoff elections that unfolded in the aftermath of Biden’s win helped turn the Senate in favor of the Democrats.

Many of Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud focused in on Georgia and Trump demanded Kemp overturn the results of the election in the state, which Kemp refused.

Despite Trump’s fraud claims being unsubstantiated, however, Republicans have focused on changing election laws across the country.

As of February, 43 states had bills introduced that would curb voting laws across the country.

‘The voters of Fulton county, the voters of Georgia, will not allow this just outrageous legislation to be the law of the land,’ Johnson said to CNN.



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