On March 10, 2021, Stacey Abram’s Fair Fight Georgia registered the domain for Jim Crow 2. Thereafter, from the President of the United States on down, the left has referred to Georgia’s new election law as “Jim Crow 2.0.”
There’s a lesson in coordinated messaging here.
Across the Sunday shows, including Chris Wallace on Fox News, anchors and pundits became emotionally invested in the claim that people would no longer be able to provide food and water to voters standing in long lines in Georgia. That has to be the talking point because there’s really nothing unpopular in the legislation. It is also not a true claim.
In fact, Georgia’s new voting law allows food trucks at polling locations.
Let’s back up a bit, first.
Under Georgia law, electioneering at polling locations is prohibited. But in progressive enclaves, local Democrats in charge of polling locations have allowed Democrat activists to pass out food and water while urging votes for Democrats. The Democrats have claimed this is not electioneering, but taking care of those in long lines.
In 2018, leftwing activists in Planned Parenthood t-shirts passed out water and iTunes gift cards in the sixth congressional district. Last year, leftwing activists passed out water with leftwing group logos affixed to it. It was electioneering that local officials denied was electioneering.
That loophole has now been closed. I actually opposed closing the loophole thinking it was a bit overkill. But I am more opposed to the people lying about it. Here’s the truth about what is happening.
Water and food will be permitted within 150 feet of a polling location provided it is set up by poll workers and is unattended by non-voters.
Outside the 150 feet, you can have food trucks, bands, and whatever else you want so long as they stay 25 feet from the actual voter line. Voters will be allowed to leave the line and come back into the line without penalty so they can get food and drink.
That’s the actual truth. I realize people on the left say it is not true, but these people believe in their truth and my truth and not the actual truth. But this is all the actual truth.
Likewise, the legislation now adds mandatory early voting on two Saturdays, which adds a Saturday from what is now happening and also allows populous areas to pick a Sunday for early voting too. Yes, it reduces the number of overall days for early voting, but expands weekend voting.
The legislation requires that absentee ballot requests be submitted at least 11 days before an election. As a stand alone measure this idea passed with bipartisan support.
The legislation abandons signature verification checks and instead will use a voter’s drivers license of state issues photo ID number and birthday as the means of verification. If a voter does not have a photo ID, the state will give one to the voter for free. This measure is hugely popular. In a University of Georgia poll, a majority of voters regardless of race, political affiliation, gender, or ideology supported it.
The legislation also mandates more precincts and more voting machines for counties with long lines to cut down on the time it takes to vote.
The legislation actually legalizes ballot drop boxes. In 2020, Georgia used ballot drop boxes for the first time to collect absentee ballots. The legal basis was the Governor’s emergency order on COVID, which directed the state to comply with the Trump Administration Department of Homeland Security guidance. It was President Trump’s administration that authorized voter drop boxes.
As soon as Governor Kemp’s emergency order on COVID expires, drop boxes would go away. But now, Georgia Republicans have legalized their use.
Democrats are right that the election reform bill was done in response to Democrats winning in November. But they are wrong that it is a way to steal or suppress votes. What Republicans had to do was get Republican voters to be convinced that fixes have been deployed to stop Democrats from stealing the election. Republican voters overwhelming sat out the January runoff because they were convinced Democrats would steal the election.
What Republicans have done is make minimal changes to the Georgia Election Code. But you’d never know that the way Democrats are screaming about it. The result is what the Georgia Republicans needed — a psychological win for their side. With few changes, the GOP base will now be convinced the problems of 2020 are fixed and they’ll go vote again.
There are still more Republicans than Democrats in Georgia and the Democrat whining will inspire those Republicans to turn out again.