Saturday, April 24, 2021

The voter suppression lie | Washington Examiner

The voting wars have flared up again, though they’ve never really been far from the national political debate since Donald Trump was elected in 2016, or the Supreme Court decided Shelby County v. Holder in 2013 — or really Bush v. Gore in 2000. This time, a massive new Georgia law, the Election Integrity Act of 2021, also known as Senate Bill 202 (or SB 202), has triggered national apoplexy, with Democrats, including President Joe Biden, declaring it the new Jim Crow. Such comparisons are insulting to those who fought for civil rights in the 1960s, incendiary to a public discourse already hampered by low institutional confidence, and at base disingenuous.

Sorting out fact from fiction is not only important for this particular law, the fallout from which has already reached Major League Baseball and some Hollywood productions, but to understand the general debate over election regulation in America.

The Georgia law limits ballot drop boxes to places they can’t be tampered with (such as early voting sites), standardizes weekend voting hours, and asks people to write a driver’s license or Social Security number on absentee ballot envelopes.

Jim Crow was “literacy tests” and poll taxes, having to guess how many bubbles are in a bar of soap, and battling billy clubs and police dogs on the way to the voting precinct.

The Washington Post gave Biden “ four Pinocchios” for his claim that SB 202 was “ Jim Crow in the 21st century” for limiting voting hours and otherwise “deny[ing] the right to vote to countless voters.” That paper, not exactly a right-wing house organ, reported that “experts say the net effect was to expand the opportunities to vote for most Georgians, not limit them.” MIT elections expert Charles Stewart III found that “it indicated an expansion of hours, especially in rural counties.”


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