Voting Rights Protest and the Arrest of Congressman Hank Johnson (D-Ga)

The Story:

Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga) was one of ten demonstrators arrested on July 22 for a civilly-disobedient protest on Capitol Hill outside the Senate Office Building. The group was calling on the Senate to end the filibuster (a trick of procedure whereby a minority can block legislation) and to pass a sweeping bill intended to counteract state-level voting suppression, known as the “For the People Act.”


Johnson, a black man, represents the 4th district in Georgia, which includes many of the eastern (and majority-black) suburbs of the City of Atlanta. The vote in the 4th district in the 2020 presidential election was 79% for Joseph Biden.

Johnson is very popular there. He won his party primary in 2020 with 68% of the vote, and won re-election against the Republican candidate in November with 80%.

Members of the group of ten, including Johnson, were taken into custody last Thursday by the Capitol Police and charged with crowding, obstructing, or causing an inconvenience.

The Thing to Know:

The For the People Act now stalled by a filibuster in the Senate would make registration easier (for example by allowing registration on election day), ease voting access (vote-by-mail and early voting), and restrict the ability of the states to remove voters from the rolls. It also addresses issues as to the way campaigns are financed.

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