DGA Sends Kemp Letter Denouncing Georgia’s Voter Suppression Law

(DGA) recently called on Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to withdraw his support of the Republican voter suppression bill he signed
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The Directors Guild of America (DGA) recently called on Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to withdraw his support of the Republican voter suppression bill he signed into law.

The 18,000-member DGA has hundreds of members in the state which is a primary place for television and film production.

Below is a copy of the April 5th, DGA letter sent to Governor Kemp.

Dear Governor Kemp:

On behalf of the more than 18,000 members of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), including more than 400 who make their home in Georgia, and hundreds more who choose Georgia as the location for their film and television projects, we write to condemn the voter suppression law Senate Bill 202, which threatens to undermine the pillar of our democracy – the right to vote. President Biden has referred to the law both as an “atrocity” and as a modern-day version of Jim Crow.

The DGA is a labor organization that represents the creative and economic rights of directors and members of the directorial team working in film, television, commercials, documentaries, news, sports, and new media. The DGA has long been a supporter of the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act that has driven increased motion picture and television production in the state in recent years, spurring economic activity that supports 44,070 jobs and more than $3.64 billion in wages. However, as a leading voice representing creative workers in the industry, we are compelled to denounce SB 202, which will disenfranchise our members, and disproportionately impact our members of color, and millions of other hardworking Georgians.

Our jobs involve long hours (often 12 hours or more a day) and frequent weekend work. They take us to sound stages and shooting locations across county lines as well as international borders, on assignments that may last up to a year or more. Because of our arduous work schedules, our members have a particular need to avail themselves of early and absentee voting. And they will be particularly at risk of the new law’s limitations on ballot drop boxes, early voting in run-offs, and absentee voting.

We vehemently reject the notion that making it harder to vote is consistent with America’s democratic values. SB 202 revives discredited practices intended to suppress the voice of Black people and other people of color that were so common in the days before the landmark Voting Rights Act, such as allowing for unlimited challenges to a voter’s registration — a notorious tactic used to racially profile and intimidate voters of color.

SB 202 will clearly suppress the vote in Georgia. For example, in the racially diverse Atlanta metro area where many of our members of color live, the number of registered voters far exceeds the availability of polling places. Voting lines have been particularly long in nine Atlanta area counties with large Black populations (Fulton, Gwinnett, Forsyth, DeKalb, Cobb, Hall, Cherokee, Henry and Clayton), which include nearly half of Georgia’s active voters but only 38% of the polling places. To provide too few polling places, and then to impose new restrictions on early and absentee voting, is a choice to burden the right to vote – a burden which falls disproportionately on Georgia’s Black voters and other voters of color.

Our members, like other working people in the labor movement, have a voice on the job 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, corporations and individuals that have spoken out in protest to 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 to make every effort to unwind its restrictions before it takes full effect on July 1st.

Sincerely,

Thomas Schlamme and Russell Hollander

President and National Executive Director
, Directors Guild of America

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