The New York Timeshas meanwhile identified 16 provisions in the bill making it difficult for many Georgians to vote. Joe Biden won the state 2-1 among absent voters; The law restricts and restricts voting by mail and other forms of early voting. Postal ballot papers have “tough identification requirements” which can result in many of them being thrown away. The ID requirements themselves have been found to depress voter turnout, especially among minority voters. At the same time, the law also criminalizes anyone who provides food and water to non-polling voters who stand in line to vote. Long lines have been shown to keep people from voting, and Georgia has had very, very long lines in recent years. Defenders of the law, like Lowry, have stated that “election workers can provide food and drink for general consumption.”
There are two problems here. One of them is that policies that encourage long lines are in and of themselves a tactic for suppressing voters. Georgia law makes it harder to choose (and, in the case of Georgia, literally criminalized) to give food and water to people standing in line. At the same time, it is not clear what problem this is actually trying to solve. Theoretically, it prevents the “campaign behavior” of non-election workers – in this formulation, offering food and drink to someone is comparable to fraud. But the defenders of the law could not identify examples of people bribing those who wait in line to eat and drink, or, strangely, someone who stands in line for hours and then votes for a particular candidate because they eat and food was given by someone to drink.
National Review’s Charles Cooke, who blamed Stacey Abrams for the whole thing, even suggested that responding to changes in Georgian electoral law was tantamount to Trump’s efforts to overturn the state’s outcome. “You can’t help but feel sorry for Secretary of State Raffensperger and Chief Operating Officer Gabriel Sterling, who have now been asked twice in the past six months to face an angry, stormy mob while talking to nothing stronger than the uninspiring truth are armed, “he wrote. The” uninspiring truth “here is that this law is not intended to suppress voices when there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it is exactly what it is supposed to do. At least Lowry is open about that Assumption he works under. “The deeper point is that in today’s United States, with such wide and easy access to the ballot, marginal changes do not disenfranchise the people,” he writes. In other words, it is voter repression a fantasy. (It is not.)