Directors Guild Leaders Condemn Georgia’s “Voter Suppression Law”
EXCLUSIVE: Directors Guild of America leaders have made a direct appeal to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, urging him to withdraw support for the state's restrictive new electoral law. "The 18,000-member guild has more than 400 members who live in the state that is one of the main centers for film and television production.
"As the leading voice representing creative workers in the industry, we are forced to denounce SB 202, which disenfranchises our members and disproportionately affects our members of color and millions of other hardworking Georgians," said DGA President Thomas Schlamme and National Executive Director Russell Hollander wrote in a letter to Kemp on Monday. "We urge you to reconsider your support for this misguided law and make every effort to lift its restrictions before it takes effect on July 1st."
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SAG-AFTRA, WGA East and WGA West, and the Producers Guild have also issued declarations against the law - none that are more worded than that of the DGA.
"Our members, like other working people in the labor movement, have a voice at work through the DGA," Schlamme and Hollander told the governor. “But we must also have a voice in our government through the right to vote. We stand in solidarity with the other unions, companies and individuals who have spoken out in protest against SB 202. We support the fight for free and fair elections in Georgia and elsewhere. "
The new law SB 202 contains strict new requirements for the voter card for absent voters. Bans election officials from sending postal votes to all voters; severely limits the number of ballot boxes; and makes it illegal to offer food or water to citizens waiting in line to vote. Proponents of the law say it is designed to prevent election fraud. Opponents call it voter suppression. President Joe Biden has called it "an atrocity" and "Jim Crow in the 21st Century".
Here is the full text of the DGA letter received by the deadline:
April 5, 2021
The Honorable Brian Kemp
206 Washington Street
Suite 203, State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Dear Governor Kemp:
On behalf of the more than 18,000 Directors Guild of America (DGA) members, including more than 400 who live in Georgia and hundreds more who choose Georgia as the location for their film and television projects, we write to break the law to suppress voters Senate Bill 202, which threatens to undermine the pillar of our democracy - the right to vote. President Biden has described the law as both an "atrocity" and a modern version of Jim Crow.
The DGA is a labor organization that represents the creative and commercial rights of directors and directors working in the fields of film, television, advertising, documentaries, news, sports and new media. The DGA has long been a supporter of the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, which in recent years has increased film and television production in the state and fueled economic activity that created 44,070 jobs and wages of more than $ 3.64 billion. Dollar supports. However, as the leading voice representing creatives in the industry, we are forced to denounce SB 202, which disenfranchises our members and disproportionately affects our members of color and millions of other hardworking Georgians.
Our jobs include long hours (often 12 hours or more per day) and frequent weekend work. They take us to sound stages and locations across districts and across international borders, with assignments that can take up to a year or more. Due to our busy working hours, our members have to resort to early and absent votes. And they are especially at risk from the restrictions of the new law on ballot boxes, early voting in runoffs and postal votes.
We strongly oppose the notion that it is consistent with America's democratic values to make it difficult to vote. SB 202 enlivens discredited practices designed to suppress the voices of blacks and other people of color that were so common in the days before the landmark suffrage law, such as indefinitely contesting voter registration - a notorious tactic used for racial profiling and intimidation the color picker.
SB 202 will significantly suppress the vote in Georgia. For example, in the racially diverse metropolitan area of Atlanta, where many of our color members live, the number of registered voters far exceeds the availability of polling stations. In nine counties of the Atlanta area with large black populations (Fulton, Gwinnett, Forsyth, DeKalb, Cobb, Hall, Cherokee, Henry, and Clayton), which represented nearly half of Georgia's active voters but only 38% of those polled sets the voting lines particularly long. Providing too few polling stations and then restricting early and absent votes is a decision to encumber the right to vote - a burden that disproportionately affects the black voters of Georgia and other color voters.
Our members, like other working people in the labor movement, have a voice at work through the DGA. But we must also have a voice in our government through the right to vote. We stand in solidarity with the other unions, companies and individuals who have spoken out in protest against SB 202. We support the fight for free and fair elections in Georgia and elsewhere.
We urge you to reconsider your support for this misguided law and make every effort to lift its restrictions before it goes into effect on July 1st.
With best regards,
Thomas Schlamme Russell Hollander
President National Executive Director
Directors Guild of America Directors Guild of America
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