Friday, April 9, 2021

The new Georgia voting law is anything but ‘Jim Crow 2.0’ - Mark Jarrett


​ by Mark Jarrett

If you dig into the bill, what you discover is a bipartisan bill that carefully balances preventing fraud with the need to ensure that people get to vote.

Stacey Abrams looked me straight in the face from her twitter video, smiled, and lied to me. She revealed her utter contempt for her opponents -- whom she has libeled as unregenerate racists, and her supporters, whom she believes too stupid to check facts for themselves. Her lie: Georgia’s new election laws are worse than Segregation’s Jim Crow laws -- in fact, they are Jim Crow 2.0!

The worst insult I can give is to call someone a liar. To know the truth and to say its opposite is to reveal a deep emptiness of the soul. But Stacey Abrams was not the only liar to refer to our new law as so bad. Biden said it is “Jim Crow on steroids” or “Jim Eagle.”  Democrat leaders across the land have not corrected these misstatements: The Democrat party is the Lying party.

The outrage the Democrat party focused on Georgia’s election law and election law reforms across the country shows its 2020 election success may be due to new tactics and thus vulnerable to legislative change.

Georgia’s election law was the result of bipartisan compromise and negotiation. Initially, the proposals were more restrictive, yet Democrats came to the table, provided inputs, and some changes were made. Even Stacey Abrams acknowledged the compromises negotiated in the bill -- Souls to the Polls (that is, busing people from Church to polling places) and absentee voting were both upheld.

These were two important parts to the Democrat victories in Georgia. Souls to the Polls reveals the historic partnership between the African American church and the Democratic Party. As my African American friends have discussed with me, it is considered normal for pastors to go over the ballot with their members, explaining who and what to vote for, then busing members who need transport to the polling place.

Culturally, this is different from the white church culture that tends to avoid politics. Still, Georgia wrote Sunday balloting into the law, a concrete example that this law specifically, knowingly gave advantages to African American voters. As the law states:

More than 100 counties have never offered voting on Sunday and many counties offered only a single day of weekend voting. Requiring two Saturday voting days and two optional Sunday voting days will dramatically increase the total voting hours for voters across the State of Georgia, and all electors in Georgia will have access to multiple opportunities to vote in person on the weekend for the first time.

Likewise, the unprecedented absentee vote in Georgia in response to the COVID pandemic was pivotal to the Democrat Party’s victory in Georgia. The new law could have dramatically restricted absentee voting in Georgia -- but instead, it implements measured changes. Again, this shows responsiveness to Democrat concerns, which Stacey Abrams acknowledged with a twitter smile, before insulting the conservatives of Georgia as unrepentant neo-segregationists.

Democrats’ main line of attack falsely claims no one can give water and food to those waiting in line. I did not see anyone complaining about the parts of the law that mandate identifying polling locations with long lines and implementing changes to ensure lines are shorter than one hour.

Regarding the water complaints, I noticed water and food distribution during several days of early October voting in now-Blue Gwinnett County. There were two food trucks and a food stand in the parking lot, handing out tamales, hot dogs, and water to everyone going voting. The new law would not stop this – if electioneers stay either 150 feet from the polling place or 25 feet from voters. May question when I saw all the food being given away was, “Where’s the money for this coming from?”

And that raises one of the key unspoken objections to Georgia’s law: It specifically stops counties from taking private funds for election purposes. Facebook’s CEO gave $350 million in election grants around the country – “saving the 2020 election” and supercharging Democrat-leaning precincts. The law states that any private donations will go through the state, which will then openly and equitably distribute the funds. Because that does not benefit Democrat-leaning counties over Republican-leaning counties…it is clearly Jim Crow 2.0.

Another key provision seems modeled on Florida’s success in cleaning up its elections. After Governor Ron DeSantis was elected, he fired Broward county’s corrupt and/or incompetent elections supervisor, Brenda Snipes. And to some surprise, Florida’s election went off smoothly on election night.

As was the case in Broward, one Georgia county, Fulton, the seat of the state capital, Atlanta, is notorious for its long-time corruption -- with virtually every male mayor since the 70s having been investigated. Fulton provided the edge that put Biden over the top in the state.

Georgia’s new law allows the State Election Board to suspend and replace the elections supervisors in up to 4 counties. It provides a process to begin performance reviews and request investigations into complaints about elections supervisors and their removal for “demonstrated nonfeasance, malfeasance, or gross negligence in the administration of the elections.” As both Fulton county and neighboring Dekalb county seem to have continuing problems smoothly administering elections, this process threatens to change their administration if these counties do not ensure smooth elections.

The 2020 absentee ballot count was a major flashpoint: Signature matching was used for verification. The drop-box locations were unsecured. On election night, counting inexplicably stopped, then started once the monitors left. It took days. There were suspicions of ballot harvesting.

In response, the new law says people requesting absentee ballots must use the same ID they’d use for voting in person. Absentee votes can be opened and scanned before Election Day, with counting starting that morning. Counting will not stop until complete and must be complete by 5 PM the following day. Drop-boxes must be at each advance voting location, a video or guard must watch them, and discrepancies will be reported to the Secretary of State. It is now a felony for unauthorized people to deliver or open absentee ballots.

The new law will also prevent the Secretary of State from secretly negotiating election law changes with Stacey Abrams, as happened in 2020. Any such changes must be publicized, and the legislature can review and reverse them. The Secretary of State will no longer be involved in changing the election law.

In short, the reason Stacey Abrams is spitting mad at, and lying about, all those ignorant, racist Georgians, is because a few legislators were smart enough and brave enough to counter Democrat tactics. Jim Crow 2.0 is preventing secret election law changes, securing procedures for absentee ballots, improving accountability for corrupt or incompetent election officials, and stopping the flow of corporate dark money to local election officials. Principles of good government will erase the Democrat’s 2020 election success blueprint.

IMAGE: Stacey Abrams lies to the camera. Twitter screengrab.

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Mark Jarrett


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