Georgia GOP: It’s Just ‘Common Sense’ To Keep Democrats From Voting, Forever
After President Joe Biden narrowly carried Georgia in November and Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff decisively beat Republican incumbents during the January runoffs, GOP lawmakers swiftly passed voter suppression legislation. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush euphemistically praised the anti-democratic legislation as “common-sense reforms."
Common sense reforms in Georgia. https://t.co/4F0TgXKMKb— Jeb Bush (@Jeb Bush) 1614634901.0
Yes, when Democrats win elections, it's just “common sense" that Republicans should pass the necessary “reforms" to prevent that from happening again.The GOP is an anti-democratic, counter-majoritarian party. There are no principled beliefs in the rule of law or the will of the people. All that matters is amassing and retaining power. Democrats who are high on "West Wing" reruns (I'm in recovery) think you can “beat" Republicans with high-minded ideas and respect for norms, but the GOP will just kick you in the electoral crotch. That's why there are 253 voter suppression bills around the country, at last count.
House Bill 531 passed the lower legislative chamber by a vote of 97-72. It now goes to the state Senate for more debate.
The far-reaching bill would require a photo ID for absentee voting, limit the amount of time voters have to request an absentee ballot, restrict where ballot drop boxes could be located and when they could be accessed, and limit early voting hours on weekends, among many other changes.
What problem is this solving other than “Black people voted"? What's exceptional about an America where it's harder to vote than it is to buy an assault rifle?
Republicans moved so quickly on these voter suppression bills. They knew their political lives were at stake. There were no sweeping police reform bills passed after George Floyd and Elijah McClain were killed in the street. I'd love it if states restricted the locations where cops could assume Black people are suspicious for simply existing.
Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan was beside himself when the bills passed the state Senate last week.
Last month I committed that I would only support common-sense election reforms and would work to modernize our election procedures to keep pace with changes in the way Georgians vote. I am focused on maintaining confidence in our electoral process and making it easy to vote and difficult to cheat.
The person who blatantly tried to cheat in the 2020 Georgia election was the twice-impeached thug. The state could maintain confidence in its electoral process by passing the “Don't Try To Shake Down The Secretary Of State Act." Elections manager Gabriel Sterling painstakingly documented how the one-term loser repeatedly lied about “voter fraud" and spread baseless conspiracy theories.
But even non-MAGA Republicans are fine with appeasing the mad king's followers, especially if it helps them hold back another blue wave. When there's a chance Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene might win a GOP Senate or gubernatorial primary, jumping Jim Crow at the polls is how Republicans remain competitive. They realize their own voters are a finite resource, and they're not interested in outreach. They'll shut down souls to the polls before pitching supply side economics to the Black churchgoers.
For those asking about part about giving food/drink to voters in line: "nor shall any person give, offer to give, o… https://t.co/vSWZHMeBeR— Dianne Gallagher (@Dianne Gallagher) 1614634758.0
Some of the restrictions are overtly repulsive. For instance, there's a prohibition against providing people waiting in line to vote with food or drink. Sure you might have waited in line for 10 hours or more, but people giving you a bottle of water is the real problem.
Nor shall any person give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector.
This is bullshit. Stacey Abrams wasn't handing out Mazdas to voters, and a Pepsi and a bag of chips isn't a gift, unless you're the worst Secret Santa ever. This is seriously a law they're putting on the books when the former White House squatter actively coerced and threatened the secretary of state to “find" votes for him?
Georgians waited in line for hours for hours during early voting last year. Republicans want to make the wait times longer and less pleasant. This only makes sense if your sole goal is to discourage voting.
This is a shameful assault on democracy and an insult to the late John Lewis's legacy. But Lewis understood better than anyone that the fight for freedom never truly ends, especially as long as there are still Republicans.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."