Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, signed the administrative order, which is expected to "develop a plan of action to mitigate the impact on City of Atlanta residents of the voting restrictions imposed by Senate Bill 202," on Tuesday, defying the sweeping voting law signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
"The voting restrictions of SB 202 will disproportionately impact Atlanta residents — particularly in communities of color and other minority groups," Bottoms stated. "This Administrative Order is designed to do what those in the majority of the state legislature did not — expand access to our right to vote."
The executive order instructs local officials to train staff members on voter registration and general information on early, absentee, and in-person voting and provides that information to residents so they can obtain the identification required to vote.
S.B. 202, also known as the Election Integrity Act of 2021, imposes voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, authorizes state officials to modify county elections boards, allows the use of ballot drop boxes while reducing the number of them, and criminalizes the act of politically affiliated persons approaching voters in line within 150 feet of a polling place to give them food and water. The legislation passed both GOP-led chambers of the Georgia Legislature, and Kemp signed it into law on March 25.
Critics of the law argue that the changes will inevitably disenfranchise minority voters and have said that is the bill's underlying intent. Georgia-based corporations such as Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines have issued statements critical of the changes, and Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden, have been supportive of boycott efforts designed to protest the law.
Major League Baseball reversed plans to host its 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta, citing the voting law, and has relocated the Midsummer Classic all the way over to Denver, Colorado. Kemp deemed the MLB decision to move the July festivities out of Atlanta an example of "cancel culture," adding that Republicans in the state are "not backing down" from changes they view as being necessary to restore confidence in the vote after election fraud claims rocked the 2020 contest.
Bottoms lamented Atlanta's loss of the All-Star Game but faulted Republicans, not MLB, for what transpired.
"Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected. Unfortunately, the removal of the @MLB All Star game from GA is likely the 1st of many dominoes to fall, until the unnecessary barriers put in place to restrict access to the ballot box are removed," she tweeted on Friday, later adding an appeal to the Georgia Legislature that "it is not too late to right this sinking ship" by "reconsider[ing] the harm that has been done."