Opposing groups protest, rallying for bills during Sine Die

ATLANTA — Dozens of different groups are at the Capitol Wednesday as lawmakers meet on the final day of the legislature.

The groups are protesting different bills, including some that are for and against the controversial election bill that Gov. Kemp recently signed into law.

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Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes was in Buckhead on Wednesday where the Georgia Republican Party held a rally for the election bill. They planned to be at the Capitol but moved locations due to the rain.

[RELATED: Sine Die: Last day for Georgia lawmakers to pass bills to become law]

The new law adds a photo ID requirement for voting absentee by mail, cuts the amount of time people have to request an absentee ballot and limits where drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed. It also bans people from handing out food or water to voters waiting in line and allows the Republican-controlled State Election Board to remove and replace county election officials while curtailing the power of the secretary of state as Georgia’s chief elections officer.

“If this election law was not passed in Georgia, you would not have drop boxes in your next election,” one of speakers said during the news conference.

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Also during the rally, Chairman David Shafer announced that the Georgia Republican Party had filed a motion to intervene as a co-defendant in lawsuits filed by groups working to overturn the new law.

“Our principles are clear: We want to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Shafer said. “We want every lawful vote counted, every unlawful vote rejected and the counting to be done in the open and in accordance with law.”

Republicans insist the changes are needed to restore voters’ confidence.

On the other side, a Democratic group protested the elections bill. They call it voter suppression.

This comes on the same day that Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian released a memo blasting the passage of the law.

“The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections. This is simply not true. Unfortunately, that excuse is being used in states across the nation that are attempting to pass similar legislation to restrict voting rights,” Bastian wrote in his letter.

Civil rights groups have filed federal lawsuits seeking to overturn the Georgia law. They’ve otherwise turned their focus to Washington, where Democrats are pushing a comprehensive federal overhaul of election law that could effectively override many changes being enacted in Georgia and considered elsewhere. Advocates want corporate leaders like Bastian and Quincey to help.

“They’ve been out there trying to claim victory in Georgia, saying basically that this bill could have been worse,” said Mia Arreguin of Progress Georgia. “But this was never going to be a voter-friendly bill. Now they can really do something about it” in Washington. “We aren’t watching what they say. We are watching what they do.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.