Getting both sides: Chairs of Republican, Democratic Parties debate the details of new voting law

ATLANTA — From the moment Gov. Brian Kemp signed SB 202, Georgia’s new elections law has drawn withering criticism.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot contacted the head of Georgia’s Democratic Party, Rep. Nikema Williams, and the head of the Georgia Republican Party, former state Sen. David Shafer, to get their take on it.

Williams insists the bill is intended to suppress the vote.

“We might not be counting jellybeans in a jar, but the proponents of this legislation are taking the same results to keep Black and Brown voters away from the ballot boxes,” Williams said.

Shafer insists the law secures election integrity.

“We want every lawful vote counted, every unlawful vote rejected, and we want the counting to be done in the open and in accordance with the law,” Shafer said.

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Williams told Elliot that the law doesn’t do anything for early voting that counties couldn’t already do. Shafer told him that the law expands all early voting.

Williams said banning delivery of food and drink to voters in the Georgia heat is absurd. Shafer said poll workers can still deliver it and the law prevents third-party groups from campaigning for their candidates under the guise of delivering food and water.

He believes the new law is necessary.

“It’s a tremendous step forward. Georgia Republicans want to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Shafer said.

But Williams insists Republicans created the law because they lost the last election and want to change the rules.

“There are additional barriers and hurdles to attempt to prevent people who turned out to vote in December and January to elect Democrats up and down the ballot from voting,” Williams said.

The law is already the subject of multiple lawsuits including one filed just Tuesday morning.