Martin Luther King III decries ‘racist’ Georgia election bill

'It’s unfortunate this trend is happening across America,' said King

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The son and namesake of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr criticized Georgia’s new restrictive voting laws signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp yesterday.

Martin Luther King III appeared on The Situation Room where he said the signing was “a very sad day” for Georgia. He also compared the new laws to “Jim Crow-era kind of legislation.”

Martin Luther King III speaks before Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock come out to speak at a campaign event to encourage people to vote on December 14, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Today was the first day of early voting for the runoff election between Ossoff and Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) and Warnock and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA). (Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)

King said that the bill “certainly has the potential to reduce voters, particularly of color.” He called the provision that makes it a misdemeanor to give food or water to those waiting in line to vote “inhumane.”

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In Georgia during the 2020 presidential election, voters waited up to 10 hours to cast an in-person ballot.

“It’s unfortunate this trend is happening across America, and over 40 states across our nation,” King said. “There used to be a time if you called someone a racist, they would want to retreat. Now it seems to be alright to be a racist. It’s a sad day in America, quite frankly.”

King said that the only solution is for people to be “more vigilant — Black people, young people, older people, poor people are going to have to be more vigilant.”

Georgia’s election officials have repeatedly said there were no irregularities in the election process which saw the state flip from red to blue for the first time since 1992. King posited that the new laws were based on racism, otherwise, “why would you restrict? We’re supposed to be expanding the right to vote to make it easier, not restricting the right to vote. It’s a travesty, tragic.”

King directly addressed the bill’s new restrictions on Sunday voting which was used frequently by Black voters during the 2020 presidential election in an effort called “Souls to the Polls,” where voters cast their ballots after church.

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Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith condemned the effort saying Sunday was a day to praise God, not voting.

“In the communities of color and many other communities,” said King, “after church — ‘Souls to the Polls.’ People are led to the polls. Certainly, we can praise God all the time, and go to church on Sabbath Day, but also, we can participate in the government.”

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