Meena Harris, VP's Niece, Calls Georgia Voting Law 'The New Jim Crow'

Meena Harris, the lawyer niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, has compared Georgia Senate Bill 202, designed to modify election rules in the state, to segregationist Jim Crow laws.

Senate Bill 202 was passed along party lines by Georgia's General Assembly with votes of 100-75 in the House and 34-20 in the Senate about an hour before Gov. Brian Kemp signed it on Thursday afternoon.

It limits absentee ballots and early voting, restricts ballot drop boxes and imposes tough new voter ID requirements. It also allows the state, currently controlled by Republicans, to take over county election boards that the state deems problematic.

Some activists and lawmakers have criticised the bill because they say it will suppress votes, including those of ethnic minorities.

On Thursday night, Meena Harris tweeted a photo of Kemp, a Republican, signing the bill, flanked by six white men. "The new Jim Crow, except that it's actually the old Jim Crow," she said.

The new Jim Crow, except that it’s actually the old Jim Crow.

— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) March 26, 2021

The Jim Crow laws were enacted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by southern states to disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by Black people after the Civil War.

Georgia State Rep. Donna McLeod and former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives Stacey Abrams have dubbed the voting reforms as "Jim Crow 2.0."

Democratic state Rep. Park Cannon, a Black woman, was arrested on Thursday after knocking on the door of the governor's office during a press conference where Kemp was signing the bill. She was twice warned by police that she would be arrested if she did not stop.

The lawmaker was charged with two felonies, one for allegedly "preventing or disrupting General Assembly sessions or other meetings of members" and one for willful obstruction, her arrest record shows.

She was released from Fulton County Jail on Thursday night. A crowd outside chanted "We stand with Park!" as she left.

Georgia was won by the Democrats in the January runoff elections. The Democrats flipped two U.S. Senate seats, giving the party control of the upper chamber when accounting for Vice President Harris's tie-breaking vote.

Abrams has been credited with helping the Democrats win the Peach state due to her campaigning to boost turnout and combat voter suppression, especially of African American communities.

Abrams condemned Cannon's arrest on Thursday evening, saying: "From passage of the #SB202 voter suppression bill targeted at Black and brown voters to the arrest of a Black legislator who was advocating for the voting rights of her constituents, today was a reminder of Georgia's dark past. We must fight for the future of our democracy #gapol."

Last month, former Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) formed a new group aiming to increase GOP turnout in Georgia in the 2022 elections.

Meena Harris at Biden inauguration
Meena Harris, niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, arrives the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Meena Harris has compared the Governor Brian Kemp’s Senate Bill 202, that is designed to overhaul elections in the state of Georgia, to segregationist Jim Crowe laws. Drew Angerer/Getty