Georgia GOP Makes Damn Sure They'll Be Able To Find Those Republican Votes In 2022
Georgia Republicans ain't subtle. After getting their asses kicked in November when record numbers of Black and young voters turned out to vote, they're going full Jim Crow to make sure that never happens again. And they're publicly arresting a Black legislator who objected to the new law, in case the message wasn't sufficiently clear.
Stacey Abrams is going to have her work cut out for her.
By now we've all see the video of Georgia Rep. Park Cannon being arrested while trying to knock on Gov. Brian Kemp's door.
“Why are you arresting her?” This Facebook Live video from @TWareStevens shows the moment authorities detained stat… https://t.co/8lTyFLHK7c— Greg Bluestein (@Greg Bluestein) 1616714120.0
As Georgia defense attorney Andrew Fleischman noted on Twitter, the arrest warrant appears to have major defects, not least of which being that legislators are supposed to be protected from arrest during the session.
Inside the chamber, the racial dimension of the law was no less obvious, with seven white men standing under a picture of a literal slave plantation signing a law to stop Black Georgians from voting.
1. You've probably seen this picture of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his gaggle of white men signing the state's vot… https://t.co/dK7Fzpqn8h— Will Bunch Sign Up For My Newsletter (@Will Bunch Sign Up For My Newsletter) 1616764160.0
In 2020, Georgia Republicans lauded their election procedures as the "gold standard." But then Black people showed up at the polls, and the GOP realized that the system was a national scandal, rife with fraud. Or as Gwinnett County Election Board official Alice O'Lenick said, "They don't have to change all of them, but they've got to change the major parts of [Georgia's election laws] so that we at least have a shot at winning."
And so they did. On a party line vote, Georgia has now shortened the period to request an absentee ballot, allowed counties to restrict early voting to working hours (i.e. when people are at work), curtailed the use of drop boxes, banned mobile voting stations, barred municipalities from accepting grant money to modernize their voting systems, and imposed an ID requirement for absentee ballots.
Embattled election official Gabriel Sterling defended the ID requirement, tweeting "97% of Georgia voters have a DL# & 99.9% have the last 4 of their Social in the system. Moving to an objective identifier instills confidence & is easier for counties to execute and train. Anyone claiming voter suppression has as much credibility as those claiming voter fraud."
Mr. Sterling failed to explain how the ballots would be more secure if they could be submitted by literally anyone who knows a voter's Social Security number.
And now that the GOP have curtailed early voting and ensured that urban precincts will have hours-long lines on Election Day, they've made it illegal to hand out water or food to Georgians waiting to cast their ballots. Because handing out granola bars and a water bottle to voters so they don't pass out in the sun is clearly a bribe, right? Good thing it won't be hot in July during the 2022 primary!
But most insidious of all is the opening Georgia Republicans left themselves to take control of county elections boards they deem to be "underperforming." Let's take a wild shot in the dark that in the next close election, the GOP is going to find that heavily Democratic Fulton and Gwinnett counties need extra guidance from the good old boys in that picture.
And remember when Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger stood up to Trump's pressure to "find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have"? Not going to be a problem any more, since the legislature removed the secretary of state as an election official and will now appoint the majority of the state election board's officials themselves. In case that wasn't clear, Republican legislators have arrogated control over the entire election apparatus. So the next time they need to "find votes," they'll be able to do it.
"It will make what we all lived through in 2020 child's play," said Lauren Groh-Wargo, head of Stacey Abrams's group Fair Fight Action, according to Mother Jones. "Donald Trump won't have to strong-arm our election administrators. The most radical fringes of the Republican Party sitting in the state legislature will be able to wipe out boards of elections, challenge voters because they don't have the right name according to them or they don't look the way they think they should look. This is Jim Crow 2.0."
Here's election expert Ari Berman laying it out last night for Rachel Maddow.
"The real purpose here was to intensify control over how every aspect of elections are run in Georgia. So when ther… https://t.co/rnOF6cXNoT— Maddow Blog (@Maddow Blog) 1616724468.0
Let's be 100 percent clear here: We will never be able to pass nationwide election reform if we don't reform the filibuster rule. And if we don't stop it, every Republican legislature in the country will pass laws like this, and they will use them in 2024 to maintain their hold on power.
Something something something "both sides."
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.