Georgia G.O.P. Fires Opening Shot in Fight to Limit Voting - The New York Times

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  jbb  •  2 weeks ago  •  23 comments

By:   Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein (nytimes)

Georgia G.O.P. Fires Opening Shot in Fight to Limit Voting - The New York Times
Civil rights groups quickly challenged a new law placing restrictions on voting, while President Biden denounced it as "Jim Crow." Republicans in other states are determined to follow suit with their own measures.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Civil rights groups quickly challenged a new law placing restrictions on voting, while President Biden denounced it as "Jim Crow." Republicans in other states are determined to follow suit with their own measures.

New voting restrictions drew protesters outside the state Capitol in Atlanta on Thursday.Credit...Nicole Craine for The New York Times

By Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein

March 26, 2021

The fight over voting rights is emerging as one of the defining conflicts of the Biden era, and Georgia fired the opening shot with a set of new restrictions underscoring the political, legal and financial clashes that will influence whether Republicans retake Congress and the White House.

President Biden on Friday called Georgia's new law an "attack on the Constitution" and said the Justice Department was "taking a look" at Republican voting efforts in the state, without offering any specifics.

"This is Jim Crow in the 21st century, it must end," Mr. Biden said, a day after Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill into law. "I will take my case to the American people — including Republicans who joined the broadest coalition of voters ever in this past election to put country before party.

"If you have the best ideas, you have nothing to hide. Let the people vote."

Civil rights groups immediately challenged the Georgia law in federal court, backed by prominent Democratic voting rights lawyers. Several Black leaders described the legal skirmishes to come as an existential fight for representation, saying the law clearly puts a target on Black and brown voters. Protests against voting restrictions unfolded this week in state capitols like Austin, Texas, and Atlanta, and more lawsuits are expected.

In more than 24 states, Republican-led legislatures are advancing bills in a broad political effort that is the most aggressive attack on the right to vote since the civil rights movement of the 1960s. It follows months of Republican efforts to tarnish Mr. Biden's presidential victory, which scores of high-level G.O.P. officials still refuse to acknowledge as legitimate.

Democrats, who have limited power in many state capitols, are looking to Mr. Biden and congressional Democrats for a new federal law to protect voting. Many in the party see the fight over voting as not just a moral cause but also a political one, given their narrow margins of victory in presidential and Senate elections in Georgia, Arizona and other battlegrounds.

Georgia's sweeping new provisions, passed by a Republican-controlled Legislature, represent the most substantive overhaul of a battleground state's voting system since last November's election. It would impose stricter voter identification requirements for absentee balloting, limit drop boxes and forbid giving water and snacks to voters waiting in line.

But in a state where former President Donald J. Trump tried to persuade Republican election officials to reverse his loss, the measure went even further: It shifts the power and oversight of elections to the Legislature by stripping the secretary of state from chairing the state Board of Elections and authorizing the Legislature to name members to the board. It further empowers the state Board of Elections to have sweeping jurisdiction over county elections boards, including the authority to suspend officials.

Mr. Biden on Friday called Georgia's new voting restrictions "un-American," and sought to tie them to the Democrats' push in Washington to enact the federal voting rights bill, which the House passed this month. The measure would put in place a raft of requirements intended to protect voting rights, including weakening restrictive state identification requirements, expanding early and mail-in voting and restoring voting rights to former felons.

The president said the new Georgia law was expressly what the House bill was designed to prevent. While Democrats in Congress debate abolishing the filibuster in order to pass the voting rights bill through the Senate, Republican legislators in more than 40 states have introduced hundreds of bills targeting voting access and seizing authority over administering elections.

And another crucial conflict looms this fall: the fights over redistricting to account for growing and changing populations, and the gerrymandering that will allow partisan majorities to limit the impact of votes by packing or splitting up population centers.

The gerrymandering disputes will determine the look of the House and dozens of state legislatures, in many cases locking in majorities for the next decade.

ImageGov. Bryan Kemp of Georgia signed the voting bill into law hours after it was passed on Thursday.Credit...@GovKemp, via Reuters

Bitter struggles over voting rights loom even in states with Democratic governors who can veto the legislation. In Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Republican-controlled legislatures are planning to advance restrictive bills, and new Republican governors would most likely sign them into law if they are elected next year.

"The 2020 election is behind us, but the war over the future of our democracy is escalating," said Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat who is the secretary of state in Michigan, where Republicans this week introduced numerous proposed restrictions on voting. "For anyone to believe that they can sit down and rest because the 2020 election is behind need look no further than what happened in Georgia as an indication that our work is far from over."

Republicans, borrowing language from their previous efforts at curtailing voting access, have described the new bills as a way to make voting easier while limiting fraud. Mr. Kemp, upon signing the bill into law, said it would "make it easier to vote and harder to cheat," even though the state's own Republican election officials found no substantive evidence of fraud.

Mr. Kemp on Friday pushed back at Mr. Biden's criticism, saying, "There is nothing 'Jim Crow' about requiring a photo or state-issued ID to vote by absentee ballot."

"President Biden, the left and the national media are determined to destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box," Mr. Kemp said. "As secretary of state, I consistently led the fight to protect Georgia elections against power-hungry, partisan activists."

Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said Georgia would serve as a model for other Republican-run states.

"The country was watching closely what Georgia would do," Ms. Anderson said in an interview. "The fact that they were able to get these reforms through sets the tone and puts Georgia in a leadership role for other states."

The Justice Department was aware of Georgia's voting law, a spokeswoman said on Friday, but provided no further comment. A White House official said the president, in his comments, was assuming this was an issue the department would review.

The department's civil rights division would most likely have lawyers investigate whether to file an independent lawsuit, said Tom Perez, the former labor secretary who also previously ran the department's Civil Rights Division during the Obama administration. It could also take part in the case that was filed by civil rights groups by filing a so-called statement of interest or moving to intervene as the plaintiff, he said.

But this is a precarious time for the federal protections in place. In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted one of the core provisions of the Voting Rights Act, clearing the runway for much of the current legislation aimed at restricting voting. The remaining protection, in Section 2 of the act, is facing a new challenge before the Supreme Court, with arguments heard last month.

The debate is also spilling over into the corporate arena. Activists across the country have been chastising companies they see as silent on the issue of voting rights. In Georgia on Friday, numerous civil rights groups and faith leaders issued a call to boycott some of the standard-bearers of the Georgia business community — including Coca-Cola — until they took action against the effort to restrict voting access.

The early battle lines are increasingly centering on two key states that flipped from Republican to Democratic in 2020, Arizona and Georgia. Those states are also home to large populations of voters of color, who have historically faced discriminatory laws at the polls.

Two battleground states that remained in Republican control in 2020 — Texas and Florida — are also moving forward with new laws restricting voting.

ImageA drive-through voting station in Houston in October. Bills being considered by the Texas Legislature would ban the practice.Credit...Go Nakamura for The New York Times

In Florida, lawmakers are looking to ban drop boxes and limit who can collect ballots for other voters, among other provisions, even after an election that the Republican chair of the state party touted as the "gold standard" and that Republicans won handily.

Blaise Ingoglia, a Republican state representative who has sponsored some of the legislation, said that while the election was successful, it was "not without challenges and problems that we think we needed to fix." He cited the use of ballot drop boxes, which he helped write into law but he said were not adequately being administered.

"They said the same thing with the last election bill, that we wrote it and they said it was voter suppression, and the exact opposite happened: We had more people vote in the state of Florida than ever before," he said. "We have 40 days of election with three different ways to vote. How can anyone say voter suppression?"

In Arizona, Republican lawmakers have advanced legislation that would drop voters who skip consecutive election cycles from the permanent early voting list. The list currently consists of roughly 3.2 million voters, and critics of the legislation estimate it would purge roughly 100,000 voters.

ImageLawmakers in Florida are seeking to limit drop boxes for ballots.Credit...Eve Edelheit for The New York Times

Wisconsin Republicans have proposed many restrictions on the disabled, new limits on who can automatically receive an absentee ballot and a requirement that absentee voters provide photo identification for every election — as opposed to having one on file with their municipal clerk.

The measures are certain to be vetoed by Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, but their sponsor, the Republican State Senator Duey Stroebel, said Friday that the legislation would encapsulate the party's principles heading into the midterm elections.

"It will define that we as Republicans are people who want clean and fair elections in the state," Mr. Stroebel said.

Wisconsin Democrats, confident in Mr. Evers's veto, are eager to have a voting rights fight be front and center ahead of the 2022 elections, said State Senator Kelda Roys, a Democrat.

"People hate the idea that their right to vote is under attack," Ms. Roys said. "The freedom to vote is just popular. It's a great issue for Democrats."

The torrent of Republican voting legislation, Democrats say, undermines faith in elections.

"Even in states where they won't be passed and have been introduced, like in Colorado, they're dangerous," said Jena Griswold, the secretary of state in Colorado. "The rhetoric of lying and trying to manipulate Americans to keep political power is dangerous. It led to all the death threats that secretaries of state and election officials received in 2020. It led to the insurrection."

Reporting was contributed by Jennifer Medina, Patricia Mazzei, Katie Benner and Thomas Kaplan.

Continue reading the main story


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JBB
PhD Principal
1  seeder  JBB    2 weeks ago

Can the gop be any more despicable? Have no doubt!

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.1  Tessylo  replied to  JBB @1    2 weeks ago

Suppressing the vote.  Plain and simple.  republicans KNOW that they CANNOT WIN unless they LIE, CHEAT, AND STEAL/SUPPRESS VOTES!

 
 
 
bugsy
PhD Guide
1.1.1  bugsy  replied to  Tessylo @1.1    2 weeks ago
Suppressing the vote.  Plain and simple.

I;m curious...

Do you think minorities can't get IDs without liberal white help?

Do you think minorities can't get to voting places without white liberal help?

Do you think minorities can't bring their own food or water to polling places, or should they rely on white liberal help?

If you answer no to any of those questions, then you have no problem with the Georgia voting law.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
1.1.2  FLYNAVY1  replied to  bugsy @1.1.1    2 weeks ago

We just had what by all accounts was a very secure election with record turn out so why change things if things were working?

Logic has it that the reason to change the voting laws was because someone didn't like the results at the ballot box.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.2  Tessylo  replied to  JBB @1    2 weeks ago

They're deplorable.  Hillary was right.  

 
 
 
bugsy
PhD Guide
1.3  bugsy  replied to  JBB @1    2 weeks ago

Is there any wonder the party of slavery and Jim Crowe are now simply known as the Democratic Party?

 
 
 
JBB
PhD Principal
1.3.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  bugsy @1.3    2 weeks ago

The gop is now instituting The New Jim Crow!

 
 
 
Tacos!
PhD Expert
1.3.2  Tacos!  replied to  JBB @1.3.1    2 weeks ago

Please explain with specificity how that will work.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Junior Principal
3  Nerm_L    2 weeks ago

There's certainly a lot of allegations being thrown around.  But there isn't any explanation how the Georgia law is restricting voting.

How are these state laws restricting voting?  

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
3.1  Ender  replied to  Nerm_L @3    2 weeks ago

I liken it to this. I know the liquor store analogy has been brought up before with the debate on having to have an id. Let us take the same liquor store and give them blue laws. Now let's say that there can only be one liquor store in the city.

Does that impact liquor sales or the peoples ability to easily get there?

I think you get my drift. It is a combination of little things that add up.

I also think one thing no one ever brings up, these so called laws were suppose to cement election security, when none of the so called laws are about security.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Junior Principal
3.1.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Ender @3.1    2 weeks ago
I liken it to this. I know the liquor store analogy has been brought up before with the debate on having to have an id. Let us take the same liquor store and give them blue laws. Now let's say that there can only be one liquor store in the city.

It's easier to vote than to pay taxes.  It's easier to vote than to obtain health insurance.  It's easier to vote than to apply for unemployment.  It's easier to vote than to set up a cell phone plan or a cable TV service.  It's easier to vote than to buy concert, sports, or theater tickets.

And, yes, it's easier to vote than to buy alcohol or marijuana or tobacco.  It's easier to vote than to buy non-prescription behind-the-counter medications.

With voting so easy, it's difficult to believe that Democrats are really expanding voting rights. 

But none of that explains how these state laws are restricting voting.  So, how are these state laws denying people voting rights?  How are these state laws restricting voting?

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
3.1.2  Ender  replied to  Nerm_L @3.1.1    2 weeks ago

Why do you say it is easier to vote than buy a concert ticket.....

If lying about it and acting like any stranger off the street could walk in some place and vote, what are you even arguing?

You are not starting from a place of good faith to begin with.

If anything you are proving what I am saying. You all think it is too easy to vote so enacting laws to make it harder.

 
 
 
r.t..b...
Masters Participates
3.1.3  r.t..b...  replied to  Ender @3.1.2    2 weeks ago

So true.

If anything a true democracy values, it is the access to the ballot box.

That we find ourselves in an age where distractors continually bring up reactionary excuses to;

...limiting the access to polling locations,

...limiting the hours of polling locations,

...limiting the means of casting a ballot before Election Day, and/or

...limiting the restrictions of mail-in voting.

only confirms the purely partisan intentions of a faction that is terrified that they are on the cusp of irrelevancy and are clinging to an outdated narrative. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.1.4  Tessylo  replied to  r.t..b... @3.1.3    2 weeks ago

Clinging desperately to their guns, bibles, and ignorance

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Junior Principal
3.1.5  Nerm_L  replied to  Ender @3.1.2    2 weeks ago
Why do you say it is easier to vote than buy a concert ticket.....

The minimum requirements for a concert ticket are the person must be at the proper place, the person must wait in line, and the person must show a valid ticket to enter the venue.  Purchasing tickets from a vendor or reserving tickets add additional requirements but the person must still be at the proper place, must wait in line, and must show a valid ticket to enter.

You are not starting from a place of good faith to begin with. If anything you are proving what I am saying. You all think it is too easy to vote so enacting laws to make it harder.

Is it possible to make voting any easier?  The ease of voting is about convenience and not about voting rights.

How are any of these state laws restricting voting rights?

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
3.1.6  Ender  replied to  Nerm_L @3.1.5    2 weeks ago

So you stretch from buying a ticket to attending a concert....

Yeah...

You are only going to see what you want to see. If you ever decide to open your eyes...

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
PhD Guide
3.2  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Nerm_L @3    2 weeks ago
How are these state laws restricting voting?  

How does limiting drop boxes, banning former felons from voting, banning food or water being given to voters in long lines and banning Sunday voting make the elections "more secure"? It would seem more like all of these restrictions supported by Republicans are specifically intended to limit a certain segment of the population from voting, specifically poor and minority voters who are least likely to be able to get time off other than Sundays, who don't have easy access to a polling place or drop box or have to wait in line for hours at the few voting locations in their area. In affluent and mostly white and mostly Republican counties we see numerous voting locations, short wait times and convenient drop boxes, doesn't that tell us exactly what the motive is behind these new proposed restrictions?

Will it make it impossible for poor and minority voters to cast their vote? No, you're right, it doesn't completely "restrict" them from voting, but these laws are obviously designed to make it as difficult as possible for them to vote which will definitely be a deterrent and discourage many in poor and minority communities from voting which is exactly what these Republican sponsored laws are intended to do. Republicans just need to admit it, this isn't about making sure non-residents or ineligible voters aren't able to vote, we already know there is has never been found any evidence of widespread voter fraud that Republican claim they're trying to protect the vote from, it's about trying to discourage eligible voters who are likely to vote Democrat from voting in their Republican stronghold States where they have maintained power for decades.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.2.1  Tessylo  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @3.2    2 weeks ago

You're talking to willingly 'deaf, dumb, and blind' folks regarding this subject and just about any other subject when it comes to certain posters.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Junior Principal
3.2.2  Nerm_L  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @3.2    2 weeks ago
How does limiting drop boxes, banning former felons from voting, banning food or water being given to voters in long lines and banning Sunday voting make the elections "more secure"?

Drop boxes are a cost to government.  Drop boxes must be maintained by government employees.  The security of drop boxes and security of employees maintaining drop boxes are the responsibility of government.  Recall the incidents of mail tainted with anthrax?  The same thing can happen with vote drop boxes that are not secured.  It's possible to put things other than ballots into drop boxes and that becomes a matter of health & safety for government employees maintaining the drop boxes.

The severity of punishment for felonies is intended to discourage others from engaging in crime.  Banning convicted felons from voting is a punishment for having committed a felony. 

Where has food or water been banned?  What has been banned is electioneering at a polling place.

Sunday voting infringes upon the rights of employees working the polling station.

Will it make it impossible for poor and minority voters to cast their vote? No, you're right, it doesn't completely "restrict" them from voting, but these laws are obviously designed to make it as difficult as possible for them to vote which will definitely be a deterrent and discourage many in poor and minority communities from voting which is exactly what these Republican sponsored laws are intended to do. Republicans just need to admit it, this isn't about making sure non-residents or ineligible voters aren't able to vote, we already know there is has never been found any evidence of widespread voter fraud that Republican claim they're trying to protect the vote from, it's about trying to discourage eligible voters who are likely to vote Democrat from voting in their Republican stronghold States where they have maintained power for decades.

Convenience is not a right.  Election officials and election workers also have rights.

Placing a greater burden on election workers is an incentive to avoid being an election worker.  Increasing the difficulty of finding people willing to work elections will ultimately make voting more inconvenient.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Sophomore Principal
4  Gsquared    2 weeks ago
Sunday voting infringes upon the rights of employees working the polling station.

That is ridiculous and absurd.  What a pathetic excuse.  

Next the reactionaries are going to argue that assisting people of a religion that an election worker disagrees with to vote infringes on the "religious freedom" of employees working the polling station.

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
4.1  Split Personality  replied to  Gsquared @4    2 weeks ago

Well of course /s

 
 
 
Tacos!
PhD Expert
5  Tacos!    2 weeks ago

I had hoped for more from the Paper of Record - maybe some detailed explanations of how exactly the new law specifically inhibits black people from voting as opposed to other groups. Instead we get yet another series of declarations, without actual reasoned argument, that it’s Jim Crow voter suppression and we should all just believe.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6  Buzz of the Orient    2 weeks ago

Xi Jinping would commend the Republicans who are doing whatever they can to make voting more difficult for those who have to struggle harder to do so.  It's a step on the way to the Chinese Communist Party system.

Rf8fefd67c25b4b1576f2e1102a60770b?rik=E857hXJxMAcDpg&riu=http%3a%2f%2fi.ce.cn%2fenglish%2fmain%2flatest%2f201811%2f21%2fW020181121353499785211.jpg&ehk=a7FqMPILBK4KiNLfLtEU3DUB9Bu01L8UVJm5Qcozt%2bE%3d&risl=&pid=ImgRaw

 
 
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