Voter Suppression: The Cruelty Is Strategic And Indefensible
Credit: Rick Kern/Getty Images
March 27, 2021

I agree with Willis about this.

It's a cruel provision -- you don't have to be a bleeding-heart liberal to understand it. Georgia Republicans would have a hard time explaining how providing food or water can be linked to voter fraud. So it would be nice if Democrats -- nationwide -- would make Georgia Republicans have to explain what "election integrity" purpose is served by this provision.

I support the provisions of the Democrats' omnibus election reform bill, but I think Democrats should introduce a bill in Congress today forbidding state and local governments from doing this.

Atkins says this is "probably the least impactful" provision in the law, but it's not insignificant, especially under these circumstances:

Since the U.S. Supreme Court's Shelby v. Holder decision in 2013 eliminated key federal oversight of election decisions in states with histories of discrimination, Georgia's voter rolls have grown by nearly 2 million people, yet polling locations have been cut statewide by nearly 10%, according to an analysis of state and local records by Georgia Public Broadcasting and ProPublica. Much of the growth has been fueled by younger, nonwhite voters, especially in nine metro Atlanta counties, where four out of five new voters were nonwhite, according to the Georgia secretary of state's office.

The metro Atlanta area has been hit particularly hard. The nine counties — Fulton, Gwinnett, Forsyth, DeKalb, Cobb, Hall, Cherokee, Henry and Clayton — have nearly half of the state's active voters but only 38% of the polling places, according to the analysis....

Georgia Public Broadcasting/ProPublica found that about two-thirds of the polling places that had to stay open late for the June primary to accommodate waiting voters were in majority-Black neighborhoods, even though they made up only about one-third of the state's polling places.

And the lines will get longer because the new law shortens the early voting period and reduces the availability of drop boxes for absentee ballots. Also:

The bill ... will allow the State Election Board to take over county election boards that it deems need intervention.

And here's what that means:

State takeovers of local election offices could change the outcome of future elections, especially if they’re as hotly contested as last year’s presidential race between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump. County election boards decide on challenges to voters’ eligibility, polling place closures and certification of results.

There are so many opportunities for Republicans to manipulate elections under the provisions of this bill. But one thing I guarantee you: Majority-Black county election boards will come under the control of the state, and there will be more and more closures of polling places in Black neighborhoods.

There's a lot to be concerned about in this bill. But drawing national attention to this provision is a way to start the conversation. Willis is right:

The Democrats' big election bill is very good, but it's hard for most people to wrap their minds around. Voting rights aren't a hot-button issue for many Americans. But Americans can understand this provision.

Published with permission of No More Mr. Nice Blog

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