WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican Rep. Barry Fleming has added a last-minute 93-page substitution to a pending bill in the Georgia statehouse that would further limit access to the ballot box. The original 2-page bill, Senate Bill 202, already passed the state Senate and is now being debated in a state House committee. Right before a key hearing on Wednesday, Fleming and his Republican colleagues added a new substitution to the bill with “whole sections” of Georgia’s disastrous voter repression bills Senate Bill 241 and House Bill 531 “copied and pasted” into the substitution.
The move comes after Georgia Republican legislators repeatedly attacked the state’s election systems, sowed distrust in the outcome of the 2020 election and promoted Trump’s “Big Lie” to justify their voter suppression tactics. Fleming’s substitution, thanks to its intentional late timing to catch stakeholders off guard, comes as a surprise to advocates, voters and Democrats. Fair Fight Action, Stacey Abrams’s voting rights advocacy group, demanded that Republicans in committee reject this last-minute substitution.
Rep. Fleming has supported a whole host of voter suppression bills in the Georgia House — a stance that lost him his job as county attorney of Hancock County last week. Residents of Hancock, a county that Joe Biden handily won, protested outside the county courthouse last week demanding Fleming be fired from his second job over his support of H.B. 531. Hancock resigned as attorney for the county Board of Commissioners last Wednesday.