Late last week a group of activists who were angry over a voter integrity bill disturbed the peace at the Georgia General Assembly.
Law enforcement officials did not arrest them.
This, even though several national media commentators played video of the incident on their respective social media pages and wondered why members of Georgia’s Capitol Police Division did not arrest the protestors.
Georgia Department of Public Safety spokesperson Franka Young told The Georgia Star News Wednesday that several people inside the state capitol began shouting last Friday and broke state law.
Young said State Rep. Park Cannon (D-Atlanta) participated in the incident.
“As Troopers were attempting to read a dispersal order, Representative Cannon stepped in front of the megaphone and placed her head against it causing feedback. After Representative Cannon impeded the dispersal order, she was told to step to the side,” Young said.
“Representative Cannon was moved to the side so that the dispersal order could be completed. The individuals causing the original disturbance left the Capitol without incident. No arrests were made and no charges have been filed.”
Video of the incident, which members of the public may view on Rumble, showed law enforcement officers ordering protestors to “disperse immediately” or face arrest.
Claire Simms, with the Atlanta-based FOX 5, tweeted that the protestors spoke out against HB 531.
As The Star News reported Wednesday, Georgia’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed the bill Monday, which they said will make elections more secure, specifically in the way of absentee voting. The legislation, if enacted into law, would also strip the Secretary of State from his role chairing the State Elections Board.
Media personality Todd Starnes spoke of the incident and said “a small mob of angry Democrats stormed the Georgia state capitol — furious over a voter ID bill.”
“Why wasn’t the National Guard called out? Or the FBI? Why weren’t the thugs arrested?” Starnes tweeted.
As The Star News also reported, HB 531 would also move Georgia away from “no-excuse” absentee voting, which caused headaches during the 2020 election cycle. That rule was made during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many felt that vast swaths of the population voting absentee hurt election integrity.
The new bill mandates that voters can register to vote absentee only within 78 days of a primary election, not 180 as is currently the law. It also implements a voter identification requirement for obtaining an absentee ballot.
Though the bill does not eliminate absentee ballot drop boxes, which were also a source of controversy in 2020, it does establish rules regarding how many drop boxes will be legal – one in each county at minimum, and one for every 100,000 voters at a maximum – as well as strict chain of custody rules for the collection and delivery of absentee ballots from drop boxes.
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