Opponents of the bills have aired TV ads, held up other legislation and threatened lawsuits to try to increase pressure against the voting bills.
“The goal of me speaking today is so that Black people, people across the state of Georgia, poor people, mothers and seniors can vote,” Cannon, a Democrat from Atlanta, said as she sat on the Capitol stairs.
She compared the conflict to a prior clash in 2018, when Capitol Police arrested Nikema Williams, who was a state senator at the time.
Williams, who is now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, was participating in an event to ensure all absentee and provisional ballots were counted in the governor’s race between Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams. Prosecutors later dropped charges against Williams.
“The same police officers are still here today and touching Black women. It is not OK, and they need to apologize publicly,” Cannon said. “This is the people’s house, and we’ve got to protect the right to vote.”
The conflict arose after protesters shouting “All Votes Matter” climbed the stairs leading to the House and Senate chambers as legislators were recessing for a lunch break.
Cannon positioned herself in front of an officer’s bullhorn, and then another officer took hold of her arm to move her away.