Georgia’s new controversial voting law last year has allowed early voting to begin in Georgia. This week was the start of Georgia’s first day of early voting. Although many were worried that new voting rules might reduce turnout, the state’s first day of early voter registration saw more than 100,000 Georgians vote on Monday. The number of voters who participated in the May primary election was nearly double that recorded for the 2018 midterms.
While opponents may have been a little disappointed, they did raise some concerns about the bill’s more serious parts.
Georgia Republicans passed S.B. S.B. 202 was passed by the Georgia Republicans to reform the state’s voter law, just two months after Democrats lost both state Senate seats and four months after Donald Trump’s reelection. The “Election Integrity Act of 2021”, also known as the “Election Integrity Act of 2021,” was intended to repeal pandemic-era amendments to voting rules meant to limit COVID-19’s spread.
Many Democrats and progressives alikened it to the age of segregation shortly after the bill was passed. It was called “Georgia’s Anti-Voter Law” by the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (ACLU). Joe Biden made an official declaration calling the law, “Jim Crow in 21st Century America.” However, many critics exaggerated or ignored the bill’s real problems.
Biden stated to ESPN that the law “closes a polling station at 5 o’clock when workers just get off,” suggesting that it was meant to disenfranchise blue collar voters. The law only states that polls should be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with the possibility of being opened as late as 7 a.m. till 7 p.m. Also, the law states that the locations of polling must be open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on at most two Saturdays leading up to elections.
Biden stated that it meant there would be no absentee voting in “the most strict circumstances.” While the law did not eliminate absentee voting, the legislation did restrict the circumstances that could be requested one, and reduce the time frame in which one can request it from six to three months. Trump claimed for many months that mail-in ballots were ripe to be fraud, despite not having any evidence.
According to Washington PostThis is a roundup of Biden’s first 100 Days in Office. One-eighth his false statements during this period were about Georgia’s voter law.
There are many things to be unhappy about. The bill severely restricts who is eligible to request absentee votes and significantly reduces the amount of drop boxes that a county can have. The New York TimesThe four counties that make up metro Atlanta will have fewer drop boxes than 94, and 23 more. Also, the law removed Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger from the State Election Board as both the Chairperson and the voting member.
The board also has the authority to suspend state and county election officials, and appoint temporary replacements. The law was passed in March and incorporated Republicans into entire county election boards.
Georgia’s voting law is clearly flawed. Georgia’s power to direct meddle in county election boards is an illiberal exercise. It also seems clear that Trump’s ego was the reason for the timing. However, by exaggerating the bill’s negative aspects and comparing it to racist laws or practices in the past (which is what opponents did), they covered up its most damaging features.