The order directs the city’s chief equity officer to implement a series of actions increasing voting access along with mitigating the law’s intended effects.
“The voting restrictions of SB 202 will disproportionately impact Atlanta residents—particularly in communities of color and other minority groups,” said Mayor Bottoms in a statement. “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 law, which has faced a backlash from corporations and Democratic officials, changes several voting standards including shortening the time frame between primary and general elections, which also narrows the options for early voting.
To counter the popular “souls to the polls” events at Black churches on Sundays, the law now requires two Saturdays for voting. It makes it a misdemeanor to hand out food, drink or other benefits to voters waiting in long lines at polling stations.
The mayor’s executive order has the chief equity officer working on training staff for voter registration and voting. It also calls for a voter awareness campaign on knowledge about the voting process and including QR codes or links to inform about registration or absentee options on utility bills.
Corporations including the Georgia-based Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines have come out against the law. Major League Baseball moved the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver, Colorado in response to the law’s passage
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has vowed to defend Georgia’s measures, and other Republicans have criticized MLB’s move. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott backed out of throwing the first pitch at the Texas Rangers’ home opener Monday and said the state would not seek to host the All-Star Game or any other special MLB events.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned the big business that have been responding to public pressure on their corporate actions not to give in to the advocacy campaigns.
“It’s jaw-dropping to see powerful American institutions not just permit themselves to be bullied, but join in the bullying themselves,” he said.
President Joe Biden who had previously called the law “Jim Crow in the 21st Century” addressed the boycotts and the state’s response after remarks on coronavirus.
“The best way to deal with it is for Georgia and other states to deal with it is to smarten up. Stop it. Stop it,” said the president.
The Associated Press contributed to this report