U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Chairwoman of the Rules Committee, will preside over a rare field hearing in Atlanta this Monday at 10:00 AM on the heels of Georgia Republicans’ fight to restrict voting access in the state.
The hearing, titled, ‘Protecting the Freedom to Vote: Recent changes to Georgia voting laws and the need for basic federal standards to make sure all Americans can vote in the way that works best for them,’ will feature testimony from Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and a panel of witnesses including Sally Harrell, State Senator for District 40, Georgia; Helen Butler, Executive Director, Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, and former Member of Board of Elections, Morgan County, Georgia; plus José Segarra, a voter from Houston County, Georgia.
It will be the first such hearing by the Senate Rules Committee in twenty years.
“Today’s vote showed that Democrats are united behind the need to ensure our elections are fair and that all Americans can vote in the way that works best for them,” Klobuchar said in a June 22 statement after the U.S. Justice Department announced an investigation into Georgia’s new election laws. “Just this year, 22 bills that roll back the right to vote have already been signed into law in states across the country – we cannot wait to act. The For the People Act includes many popular provisions that both Democrats and Republicans support, including setting basic national standards to make sure all Americans have access to the ballot box. This fight has just begun – that’s why, as Chairwoman of the Rules Committee, I am announcing a series of hearings on the urgent need to pass critical voting, campaign finance, and ethics reforms, including a field hearing in Georgia to hear testimony on the recently enacted legislation to restrict voting in the state.”
While the hearing takes place, Georgia Republicans have scheduled their latest legislative meeting to focus on Atlanta’s rising crime rate for Monday.
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston said in a statement, “Our House is focused on the safety of Georgia’s citizens and ending the crime wave sweeping through our capital city.”
“I invite Senators Klobuchar, Ossoff and Warnock to stop by if they would like to work on solving a real problem,” Ralston said. “Much like the citizens of Coweta County, however, I expect only disappointment from Washington.”
These moves come after a boisterous fight on television over Major League Baseball’s decision to move their All Star Game from Cobb County’s Truist Park to Coors Field in Denver. The conservative Consumers’ Research group unveiled what it calls a “name and shame” campaign critical of the league and other corporations that objected to Georgia’s election rewrite.
The group spent at least $1 million on digital and cable ads. The buy included a 30-second commercial that ran on Atlanta’s local television networks.
It’s a salient reminder that elections and voting will be a top issue for both Democrats and Republicans in the 2022 elections — and that Stacey Abrams will be a top target for Republicans no matter what.