Minority Leader James Beverly talks impacts of S.B. 202

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Georgia Republicans say Senate Bill 202 will make elections safer, but Democrats, including minority leader James Beverly, disagree.

Beverly and others say S.B. 202 will suppress the vote and hurt small businesses.

“We’re going to try and repeal it in special session,” Beverly SAID. “Then next year, we’re just going to keep telling folks, ‘Here’s what you need to do as a result of this bill.'”

Beverly hosted a news conference outside of Ma Dukes Southern Cookin’ in Macon Monday, where he referred to S.B. 202 as Jim Crow 2.0 and said the bill is draconian legislation.

He says the bill criminalizes the act of anyone not an election official giving food and water to voters standing in line. He says it it also limits ballot boxes and transfers power to the legislature as opposed to the state elections board. Beverly says the bill is discouraging people from coming to Georgia to do business.

“The responsibility for any economic pain now facing our businesses lies squarely and solely at their feet, who prioritize voter suppression over he well being of all Georgians,” he said.

Teresa Cohen, the owner of Ma Dukes, says the pandemic hit her business hard. She opened in 2019, but when Covid hit, she had a hard time getting assistance. She says she feels like elected officials have not held up their end of the bargain.

“I have called all different type of organizations trying to get help to keep my business going,” Cohen said. “I haven’t gotten any results from anybody.”

Cohen says she’s frustrated that her business is struggling. She’s even considered moving her business out of Georgia. She says she feels like elected officials made empty promises to business owners.

“I’m letting everybody know people don’t do what they say they’re going to do all the time, so we got to be careful who we vote for,” Cohen said.

Beverly says in an ideal situation, Georgia voting would look different. He says he would extend early voting, allow people to vote at any precinct in any county and implement same-day registration.

He says other states utilize similar practices.

“The quality of life in those states for everybody rises,” Beverly said. “If you give everybody an incentive to vote, especially businesses at the base of the pyramid, then people really have a true stake in democracy.”

Republican Response

We reached out to State Senators Larry Walker and John Kennedy for a response to Beverly’s comments but we haven’t heard back yet.

Categories: Bibb County, Elections, Featured, Local News, Politics, WMGT

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