Getting the record straight on Georgia’s new voter access law
What is most incredible about what happened in Georgia last week is how quickly liberal politicians and their allies have moved from condemning election disinformation to spreading it wholeheartedly. If we weren’t used to hypocrisy, it might have given us a boost. Georgian Senator Raphael Warnock is a good example. In a fundraising email sent shortly after the passage of SB 202 – Georgia’s new voter access law – he falsely accused Georgia’s Republicans of committing “an attack”. massive and shameless against the right to vote “by” putting an end to postal voting without excuse “and by” limiting early voting on weekends. I know Senator Warnock is a new lawmaker, but he should at least read the bill in question before he rejects completely bogus claims. SB 202 leaves absentee voting without excuse in place and expands early voting in Georgia by imposing an additional day of weekend voting in all counties in Georgia. He is also continuing the vote on Sunday in counties that so wish. Not to be outdone, President Biden asserted that SB 202’s new photo ID number requirement for mail-in ballots “will effectively deny countless voters the right to vote.” He should say this to the majority of Georgian voters, Georgian Democrats and black voters in Georgia who backed the common sense effort. Studies show that voter identification laws do not decrease voter turnout. Georgia’s voter turnout numbers and percentages have broken records several times since we introduced photo ID for in-person voting. In his statement, Biden also alleged that the new law “ends voting hours earlier.” Even the left-wing Washington Post agreed that was not true, claiming four Pinocchios and saying that “there is no evidence that this is the case.” The reality is that Georgia remains a national leader in access to the ballot box. Georgia has the most effective automatic voter registration program in the country. Automatic registration of eligible voters through the Georgia Department of Driver Services, which confirms citizenship before registration, facilitates voting for eligible voters, and ensures election officials have accurate and up-to-date information. Notably, President Biden’s home state of Delaware does not offer this to voters. Stacey Abrams is asking for just 15 days of early voting, below the 16 days Georgia has offered voters for years. SB 202 built on this, requiring a minimum of 17 days of early voting, including two Saturdays. In contrast, Abrams recently praised New Jersey for having nine days of early voting. If wider access is better, why are nine days laudable but 17 suppressive? Ditto for President Biden. His home state of Delaware does not offer early voting. And although Georgian voters may request a postal vote without an explanation, President Biden’s home state of Delaware still needs an excuse. President Biden, Senator Warnock and other critics of Georgia’s new law are more concerned with sparking outrage from their grassroots than talking about real politics. If they looked at the facts, they would find that SB 202 is making some common sense adjustments following an election stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Legislation shifts Georgia from the subjective process of identity verification of signature correspondence for postal voting to objective identification numbers from photo IDs, free voter IDs, or others. documents. I introduced this concept last year with the postal voting request portal, and it has been praised by bipartites. With an election this close, moving to an objective standard takes the pressure off our local election officials. It is also convenient for voters. Over 97% of Georgian voters have a driver’s license number associated with their voter registration file. To ensure that voters actually get their mail-in ballots on time to cast them, SB 202 sets up reasonable timeframes for receiving mail-in ballot requests and mailing out mail-in ballots, and reconciles the Georgia other state deadlines. The massive increase in the number of postal votes last year has put stress on Georgia’s electoral system. Over 500,000 people requested a postal vote but still showed up in person. This slowed down in-person voting and increased the possibility of double voting. SB 202 takes action to reduce voting lines. If voters have to wait more than an hour on polling day, the affected county must add voting material or divide the constituency if there are too many voters assigned to that constituency. The bill directs voters to vote in their assigned constituency, eliminating the extra steps of processing out-of-constituency voters that lead to long queues. The bill also takes steps to minimize voter confusion that undermines the integrity of elections. SB 202 requires third-party groups to clearly identify who they are on the mail-in ballot requests they send to voters. My office received countless calls from people who believed they had received multiple mail-in ballots because third-party organizations continued to send out application forms. SB 202 codifies the early processing of postal ballots to allow faster display of results and greater transparency. It also requires counties to publish the total number of postal ballots they received during the election shortly after the polls close to avoid the perception that the ballots arrived after the deadline. . SB 202 clarifies that giving food or drink within 150 feet of a polling station is considered campaigning and is not allowed. The polling station should be a place where voters are free from pressure and influence and can vote in peace and confidence. Unsurprisingly perhaps, there is little controversy over the same rules in New York, on which the Georgian lawmaker has modeled its own provision. It doesn’t matter if the outraged groups really wanted to make sure that the voters on hold were given water, they would be more than happy to give the returning officer water for distribution, as the SB allows. 202. These groups can also stand 25 feet away from the polling lines and 150 feet from the precinct and let the voters come to them. The bill also includes more practical measures that will contribute to good election administration. Counties can now hire election officers from neighboring counties if needed and if the neighboring county has enough staff. It also obliges political parties to train their election observers on relevant laws and regulations. If these things seem like common sense solutions, they are. SB 202 will increase confidence in our electoral system, ease the burden on local election officials, and expand access to the ballot boxes. If the bill looks different from how it has been portrayed in the media, it’s because critics are distorting it to spark outrage and raise funds outside their base. After the 2020 election, we should all be able to agree that spreading election disinformation is wrong. Instead, the liberal outrage machine is on SB 202, putting fundraising above the facts. But I know better than anyone that the truth matters in elections. I will continue to speak the truth about our electoral systems, although I know President Biden, Senator Warnock, and Stacey Abrams care more about money and partisan outrage.