Augusta Democratic leaders: Georgia’s election law could impact small businesses

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Georgia’s election law remains at the forefront more than a month after it was approved. Democratic leaders argue the Augusta community could start feeling the consequences.

“If Governor Kemp and Georgia republicans were truly serious about supporting business owners, they would have spent this session focusing on responding to the economic crunch,” State Rep. Sheila Nelson says.

Days after the S.B. 2020 was approved, Major League Baseball pulled the All Star game out of Atlanta. Actor Will Smith and director Antoine Fuqua moved their upcoming movie “Emancipation,” which was scheduled to be filmed near Savannah. Though neither of those actions directly impact Augusta, Democrats fear the CSRA could be impacted next.

“God forbid someone in Hollywood or Atlanta says, ‘We’re going to pull out,'” Augusta-Richmond County Commissioner Jordan Johnson says. “Imagine the businesses in downtown that won’t get business because there aren’t any movies getting shot. We think it’s something small, but it could affect every aspect of how we do business in this city.”

There has been no indication yet that business is leaving Augusta. Actor Mel Gibson filmed a spy thriller in downtown Augusta just days after the S.B. 202 was approved. The Masters went on as scheduled despite calls for boycotts.

Meanwhile, supporters of S.B. 202 argue Georgia voters will have more opportunities to vote under the new law. Counties are now required to allow early voting on two Saturdays, instead of one. They also have the option to open up voting on Sunday. Despite these inclusions, opponents say it is still not enough.

“We don’t want any reasons to limit or restrict people from voting,” Nelson says.

Augusta Democrats say they will not stop fighting until S.B. 202 is overturned.

“We’re going to have several organizations that are already gearing up to have lawsuits,” State Rep. Gloria Fraizer says. “We’re going to make sure our next election works smoothly despite S.B. 202.”

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