Media outlets and some democrats are describing the new voter laws in Georgia as “Jim Crow” laws. But what’s the truth? We know that the law, as signed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, makes voting more accessible than even Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware. Georgia has also added to the length of time that voters have to cast a ballot. So what’s the truth? Many say that Democrats are using false claims about SB 202 as a pretext for Congressional control of all local elections with the controversial with HR. 1. passed by the House.
The reforms passed in SB 202 include:
Protecting absentee voting by requiring voter ID, not automatically sending request forms or ballots to all registered voters, printing ballots on security paper so they can be authenticated, prohibiting ballot trafficking by political operatives, and strengthening supervision of absentee ballot drop boxes.
Promoting the integrity of the election process by prohibiting private funding of election officials and government agencies.
Increasing the accuracy of voter registration lists.
Increasing transparency by allowing election observers complete access to the election process and requiring the ballot-counting to continue without pause until all votes have been tabulated.
So powerful has been the false narrative around the bill that the MLB has moved the All-Star game, Coca-Cola and Delta are demanding it be undone, and even Atlanta’s black Democratic leaders are saying the boycotts go too far.
Myth 1: The Georgia election law discourages voting/suppresses votes
FACT: The bill actually preserves or expands ballot access in several important ways: It requires that large precincts with lines more than an hour long take steps like adding voting machines and election personnel for the next election to reduce wait times. It does not change the number of total early voting days, and actually increases the mandatory days of early weekend voting. Compared to 2020, 134 of 159 counties will offer more early voting hours in future elections under the new law. It codifies election drop boxes, which did not exist prior to 2020. Voters can continue to vote absentee with no excuse(unlike states like Delaware, New York, and Connecticut, which require an excuse to vote absentee).
Myth 2: The Georgia law eliminates voting on Sunday to suppress African-American votes
FACT: Georgia law was silent on Sunday early voting days prior to SB 202, and in 2020 only 16 of 159 counties offered early voting on Sundays. The new law explicitly provides the option of holding early voting on two Sundays for all localities. It actually increases the mandatory days of early weekend voting across the state.
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Myth 3: The Georgia election law suppresses the vote with onerous voter ID requirements
FACT: The law requires a driver’s license or free state ID number, which 97% of registered voters already have. Anyone without a valid ID can easily obtain one for free. The voter ID requirement replaces the state’s controversial signature match program that led to the disqualification of thousands of votes in 2020.
The law’s voter ID requirement for absentee ballots is overwhelmingly popular in Georgia across the board. According to an AJC poll in January, 74% of Georgia voters support it, including 63% of black voters, and 89% of those making under $25K/year.
Myth 4: The bill eliminates drop boxes for absentee voting
FACT: The drop boxes used in the last election did not exist a year ago. They were first utilized in 2020 as a pandemic precaution. This bill makes them an official part of Georgia elections, and they will be available in all 159 counties in Georgia and under supervision to protect against tampering.
Myth 5: The bill lets Republicans throw out any county votes they don’t agree with
FACT: The bipartisan State Election Board can do performance reviews of local election supervisors who fail their area’s voters with things like long lines and unfulfilled absentee ballot requests. The board will not overturn election results; the law simply provides a process to review and ensure officials are technically competent and complying with state laws and regulations . This process requires a high burden of proof over multiple elections, and the State Elections Board may only suspend up to four election supervisors at any given time, which guards against using this process to try to influence election outcomes.
Myth 6: The bill bans drinking water for voters while waiting in line
FACT: Like the countless other states that have very specific laws against electioneering near polling places, Georgia has codified rules preventing political groups from handing out food or water to voters in line as an incentive to vote, but specifically allows poll workers to make water available to anyone who wants it. The law will also directly cut down wait times, meaning refreshment for people waiting in line will be less necessary.
–The Heritage Foundation.