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Atlanta mayor issues order to ‘mitigate the impact’ of Georgia’s new voting law

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JULY 07: Mayor of Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks onstage during the 2018 Essence Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence via CNN)

(CNN) — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an executive order Tuesday that directs the city’s chief equity officer to implement “a series of actions to mitigate the impact” of Georgia’s new election law imposing a series of voting restrictions.

The city of Atlanta does not have authority over state election law, so the administrative order cannot change any of the new requirements. Most of the actions focus on voter education and staff training to better assist Atlanta residents with information on the new law changes or how to obtain necessary identification.

“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,” Bottoms said in a statement.

The order is just the latest rebuke of the Georgia election legislation, which has been roundly derided by voting rights advocates, civil rights groups and, more recently, private businesses in the state. Signed into law last month, it imposes new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, empowers state officials to take over local elections boards, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water.

Republicans cast the measure, dubbed The Election Integrity Act of 2021, as necessary to boost confidence in elections after the 2020 election saw then-President Donald Trump make repeated, unsubstantiated claims of fraud. But Bottoms emphasized Tuesday that voting restrictions in the law will “disproportionately impact Atlanta residents — particularly in communities of color and other minority groups.”

Her order specifically aims to provide training to staff members on voter registration along with early, absentee and in-person voting “in order that they may communicate this information to City residents.” The order also has provisions for disseminating information about how to obtain the identification forms needed for absentee voting, and adding QR codes that lead to voter registration information websites on water bills and other mail.

Beyond Georgia, Republicans in other key electoral states across the country are advancing bills to clamp down on ballot access.

Arizona, Texas, Michigan and Florida are among the states where lawmakers are pushing restrictions, many of them citing Trump’s false claims of fraud as a reason to tighten the rules around voting — moves that would also hinder Democratic-leaning voters.

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