The Low Down on Georgia’s Voter Suppression Law

For the second time this month, a voter suppression bill was passed into law. This time around, it was Georgia and governor Brian Kemp did the honors. And just to make sure everyone got the message, the signing took place in a closed room under a painting of a slave plantation. Because if you’re going to pass legislation that disenfranchises African American voters you might as well go all out and rub their noses in it. At least they wore masks instead of hoods.

Below is a partial list of some of the changes to the state’s voting law:

*    Absentee ballots must have a driver’s license or other government-issued documentation instead of voter signatures. If a person doesn’t have either, they will not be able to cast an absentee ballot.

*    Instead of being outside where voters have easy access to them, ballot drop boxes will be inside the polling stations and will only be available only during business hours.

*    Food and water will not be allowed to be distributed to voters waiting in line at polling places. In other words, if it takes eight hours to cast a vote, tough shit.

*    The state election board now has the authority to fire any and all county election boards and replace them with interim elections managers.

Ok, so the first three are pure dick moves that, while harmful, can be overcome. But the last one poses the greatest threat. If it is allowed to stand, the state would have the power to literally override the outcome of any county because of “irregularities” among the ballots. Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that Stacey Abrams decides to run for governor next year and is ahead by, say, twenty-five thousand votes the day after the election. The state election board could suddenly decide it doesn’t trust the results out of Fulton and Cobb counties. Bye, bye lead and bye, bye governorship. 

This is precisely what Trump was demanding Brad Raffensperger do in that now infamous phone call from last December; the one that could actually get him indicted, ironically enough. Well, guess what? Now it’s codified into law.

Do not be distracted by all the “there’s nothing to see here” bullshit coming from Gabriel Sterling. The intent here could not be clearer. This is a political coup. Period! Georgia Republicans know full well what happened in Virginia a decade ago and they are determined not to let the same thing happen in the Peach state. So they came up with some half-assed excuse like “voter integrity” to justify passing a bill that will disenfranchise Democratic voters, or, if that doesn’t work, overturn an actual Democratic victory. They’re like the retailer with a bad product who thinks he can stay in business by limiting how many customers his competitor can sell to.

The fact is that had this law been on the books last year, Trump most likely would’ve won the state and Republicans would’ve retained both Senate seats. This is the blueprint the GOP is going to employ across the country. Everywhere there is a Republican-led legislature with a Republican governor, you can expect similar bills to move forward. It’s an attempt to come up with a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.

It’s beyond cynical; it’s “un-American and sick,” to quote President Biden. And if Democrats don’t wake up and act fast, they will be swept out of power very shortly. Biden didn’t win states like Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin by a lot. All it would take for all three to flip in 2024 is for a few thousand ballots to be “disqualified,” and just like that Trump is back in the White House. This is what happens when a party goes out of its way to, as Marc Elias tweeted, “show fealty to a failed one-term president who is an authoritarian who doesn’t support democracy.” You get stunts like this.

Even in blue states like Virginia, Republicans are still peddling the great lie about the 2020 election. Tim Miller has an excellent piece in the Bulwark about the insane field of GOP “candidates” jockeying for the chance to retake the governorship this year. The concern isn’t that one of these “wahoos” might actually win; it’s what could happen after they lose. When your default position is that the January 6 assault on the Capitol was justified, any and everything is on the table.

Voter suppression laws, violent insurrections, insane conspiracy theories, alternative realities, welcome to today’s Republican Party. Compared to these bozos, Reagan was Karl Marx incarnate.

Author: Peter Fegan

Progressive but pragmatic. Lover of music, die-hard Giants' fan and reluctant Mets' fan. My favorite motto? I'd rather be ruled by a smart Turk than a dumb Christian.

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