Faith leaders hold protest, mass prayer against Georgia’s new voting law

ATLANTA — Area faith leaders vowed to keep fighting for voter rights as they protested across from the state Capitol against the recently passed state voting law.

The faith leaders told Channel 2′s Audrey Washington that they were there to pray and protest in a show of faith and solidarity with other activists against the law.

[RELATED: Gov. Kemp defends signing voting law as opponents file federal lawsuit]

“The younger generation believes the church has disengaged and not connected, so for the church to really lift up its voice was meaningful and timely,” said Dr. Jamal Bryant, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

Under the new law, a photo ID is required in order to vote absentee by mail. It also makes it a misdemeanor to hand out food and water to voters waiting in line within 150 feet of a polling place or within 25 feet of any voter at a voting site.

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Rev. Dr. Bernice King headlined the protest, telling Washington that the law is a clear example of voter suppression and is reminiscent of the old Jim Crow laws.

She cited her father’s work on the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“It’s the reason why we’re in this fight again: because we are really trying to strip that down,” King said.

State Sen. Butch Miller said he was in favor of the new law.

“I’m for fair and open elections, and Senate Bill 202 helps with that. It helps with validity and transparency and integrity,” Miller said.

“Legislators should be clear that this law is not about voter fraud; it’s about voter turnout. This was the largest turnout in Georgia’s history ever,” Bryant said.

Next, the group of protesting faith leaders said it plans to head to Washington, D.C., where it will push for the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.