LeBron James – NBA star’s voting rights group starts new campaign

US basketball star LeBron James’ voting rights group has launched a campaign against voter suppression as some states consider new restrictions.

The Protect Our Power campaign aims to stop such policies, which would disproportionately affect black voters.

Republican legislatures have been advancing laws to limit where and when people can vote amid unproven allegations of election fraud in 2020.

Georgia, a key state in the election, is at the centre of the rights battle.

Other rights organisations have joined up with James’ More Than A Vote group to focus on the issue in Georgia.

In a video announcing the new campaign on Friday, James says: “This isn’t the time to put your feet up.”

“Posting hashtags and black squares”, he says, is not enough. “It’s always been more than a vote. It’s a fight and it’s just getting started.”

Speaking over images of the January Capitol siege, he says: “They saw what we’re capable of, and they fear it”.

The typically Republican state flipped during the 2020 presidential election, helping hand President Joe Biden his White House win.

Voters there also delivered victory to two Democratic Senate candidates in January, giving Democrats a slim majority in the upper chamber of Congress.

Republicans remain in control of Georgia’s state government, however, and have now approved bills that would cut voter access.

Measures include limiting the use of drop boxes to return ballots, requiring photo identification for voting by mail and cutting back early voting on weekends.

Conservatives argue the “common-sense” restrictions are necessary to keep the electoral process fair.

Advocates say these measures would disproportionately affect black voters, who are a third of voters in the state, especially as many church voting drives happen on Sundays.

Other states led by Republicans have put forth similar measures.

James launched More Than A Vote following national protests over the death of George Floyd last year. American football quarterback Patrick Mahomes, basketball star Jalen Rose and actor Kevin Hart are also members.

The group aims to mobilise black voters and address criminal justice reform this year.

James is expected to appear in an advert during the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday to promote the campaign. This weekend marks the anniversary of the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” Selma march, where peaceful civil rights protesters were beaten by Alabama police.