Senator Nikema Williams was part of a protest demanding all of Georgia’s midterm votes be counted when she was arrested
Several midterm election races in Georgia are still undecided as the state grapples with provisional votes that incumbent Governor Brian Kemp (himself still locked in an undecided race) says are invalid. Tuesday, a protest broke out at the State Capitol where demonstrators demanded that every vote be counted in several tight, contested races. More than a dozen people were arrested, among them State Senator Nikema Williams.
Video taken at the protest showed signs proclaiming Stacey Abrams to be Georgia’s governor. She’s the Democrat who’s challenging Kemp, who’s accused of unconstitutionally striking hundreds of thousands of registrations from Georgia’s voter rolls, many of them Democrats, poverty-stricken, and people of color, and many of them in districts that were projected to vote for Abrams.
— Adam Murphy (@MurphyCBS46) November 13, 2018
They are arresting a state senator in the state capitol, where she works, for… demanding that votes be counted. She holds the Atlanta seat that civil rights leader Julian Bond once held and led domestic workers in their canvassing https://t.co/2plHEoaEhZ
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) November 13, 2018
In the eight days since the election, several lawsuits have been filed in Georgia over votes that Kemp says don’t count. Protesters are demanding that all votes be counted, including provisional ballots that were cast by people who showed up at the polls to learn they were suddenly no longer registered to vote.
Williams was taken with the other arrested protesters to Fulton County Jail, where she bonded out and was met outside by a small crowd of supporters, local news outlets reported. People on Twitter are responding to the arrest by wondering if it was racially motivated.
This is what being a black woman in America is like. A Georgia state senator who is also the vice chair of state Democratic Party, Nikema Williams (shown in red), arrested in her own legislative building for peaceful protest. #gapol #counteveryvote pic.twitter.com/Y9xru7tyZy
— Kevin Lowery (@kevloweryphoto) November 14, 2018
Georgia State Senator Nikema Williams was arrested then forcibly and illegally removed from the floor of the body in which she serves, which was in session, during a demonstration to demand that Georgia count every vote before certifying electoral results. https://t.co/Qx9TG7laKW
— Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) November 13, 2018
— Alexander🌹Hernandez (@nadaytu) November 13, 2018
Nikema Williams is a hero. pic.twitter.com/vJfhEepckz
— marv (@mrvndn) November 13, 2018
Nikema Williams is a courageous state leader in Georgia, she was arrested in her place of work fighting for #CountEveryVote. #Georgia is ground zero for the #NewJimCrow and we're fighting today. #gapol https://t.co/1l3rlA0EJq
— Simon Says (@SayethSimon) November 13, 2018
A white male legislator went to the same demonstration at the same time as Sen. Nikema Williams, but she was arrested and he wasn't. Outside the jail where they held her, he spoke out about how she was treated differently because she's black. Must watch: https://t.co/eaWBm2KYDQ
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) November 14, 2018
“I joined them down on the floor and I was singled out as a black female senator, standing in the rotunda with constituents in the Capitol, in the body that I serve in, and I was singled out and arrested today for standing with so many Georgians who are demanding every vote be counted,” Williams later told reporters. When asked if the arresting officers knew she was a State Senator (not that it matters, since she was among people demonstrating their First Amendment right to protest), she replied, “I wear my name tag every day in the Capitol.”