Georgia NAACP plans Capitol rally to demand voting changes

The Georgia NAACP plans to march on the state Capitol on Monday to demand that lawmakers overhaul the criminal justice system and address “electoral failures” after a primary marred by long lines and malfunctioning machines.

Organizers of the "March on Georgia" will call on legislators returning to the legislative session to repeal citizen's arrest rules, take steps to restrict police violence and block new elections rules that Democrats fear could sow confusion.

“We are done dying,” said James Woodall, the group’s president. “It’s going to take real effort on the part of every elected official in the Georgia General Assembly to do their part to protect every single Georgian and ensure that this becomes a state that such a disheartening reality is of no more.”

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The rally is among a spate of protests and demonstrations across Georgia after the deaths of Georgia Floyd, the Minneapolis man killed in police custody, and Ahmaud Arbery, who was gunned down while running in a neighborhood near Brunswick.

It coincides with the return of state lawmakers after a months-long hiatus triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. They’re under pressure to take up a hate-crimes measure, but advocates have pressed for more sweeping changes.

House Democrats have taken up the call, announcing plans to push a repeal of the citizen's arrest and "stand your ground" laws. A broader proposal will be announced when lawmakers return to complete the legislative session.

It’s not yet clear how lawmakers plan to address the electoral system after lengthy lines and problems with the new voting system, along with poll closures triggered by the pandemic, turned the primary into an ordeal for tens of thousands of voters.