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There is nothing “hypocritical” about punishing Georgia for punishing voters
Scott McIntyre / Getty: When Major League Baseball moved the all-star game from Atlanta to Denver in response to Georgia’s new electoral law, Fox News was quick to respond. “Is the White House concerned about Major League Baseball moving its all-star game to Colorado, where election regulations are very similar to Georgia?” Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki last week. Also on the network were Brian Kemp, Georgia governor and former secretary of state, who claimed it was “hypocritical” to move the game to Colorado, which after all has only half the number of early election days and stricter ID requirements than the one enacted the new Georgian law. In a question and answer for the Republican National Lawyers Association earlier this week, Kemp said the battle for law, in which Georgia-based corporations and voting rights activists battle the state’s Republicans, is the “battle of our lives” against “culture break off.” that misses the point. It is pointless to try to compare the voting policy of one state from apple to apple with that of another state, as there are great differences in local electoral cultures, demographics, regions and legal peculiarities. If you compare Georgia’s voting requirements with Colorado’s without that context, one wonders why you can play Beethoven on a piano but not on a tambourine since both are instruments. Who Goldberg cuts off Meghan McCain’s MLB Georgia Rant: “Are you done?” For example, while it is actually true that Georgia has twice as many early election days as Colorado, it is important to recognize that most Georgians vote in person, while almost no Coloradans do. To say this is an advantage over Colorado is a fundamental misunderstanding about how Coloradans vote. And the proof is in the numbers: Colorado voter turnout was 10 percentage points higher in 2020 than Georgia. It is unconvincing to say that your state is the same as another state when the results are so different. This is similar to two stores with exactly the same security policies but with very different theft rates since, for example, one store is in a mall and the other. These misleading comparisons between states show the need for a smarter measuring stick. We should compare states with themselves. Would this bill make voting more difficult in this state than the current rules? This standard would allow adequate scrutiny of states that choose to worsen their own laws, negate the need for red and blue pissing matches, and instead hold the line and demand states that do their own good work cancel. “If we would like to talk about comparing one state with comparing the other. Let’s see which way they are, “Bob Brandon, president and CEO of the impartial Fair Elections Center, recently told NBC News. Similarly, Justin Levitt, professor of law at Loyola Marymount University’s Loyola Law School in California, declined state-to-state comparisons. Having an outdated law on the books is very different from “looking back at that law in the current context and saying,“ Yes, we need one of them, ”he said. “‘Somebody else screwed it up’ is no excuse for screwing it up. That’s the crazy part of whatabout ism. “But this whatabout ism is the way politicians and the media got their attention. They are distracted by essentially meaningless “easy access” rankings from states derived from data that are not consistently recorded or based entirely on an activism group’s interpretation of the law as expansive or restrictive – hardly any scientific comparisons. Today, conservative media are superficially comparing Georgian law with other states with no context. Not a single one asked, “Does this make it easier for the exact same people in the same state to vote as they just did?” The restrictions of the new law may not affect voter turnout, but they do not make voting or elections easier. It is much easier and more logical to question whether a state is improving or deteriorating its own standards, given the standards in force in the immediate past. Take Kentucky. It is the only state with a Republican-controlled legislature that has passed legislation so far at this session to expand access to voting. The state will now be able to vote three days ahead of time, no more, and stricter security and easily accessible measures related to postal voting. It helps that the state has a governor with a “D” in his name, and that Kentucky didn’t have to do much to make the voting easier. As part of its response to the pandemic, Kentucky offered an early and absentee vote for the first time. When voters realized what a hassle the vote had been when they only had a single day to vote in person in the middle of the week, there was no going back. Voters called for it to become law. Most Republican-controlled state legislatures are willing to do the opposite: legislation has been put in place that would make the laws much worse for voters, all based on the lie that the election was compromised by fraud. Georgian law, while expanding early voting and far from the horrors of the original legislation, will still create new barriers for Georgians compared to 2020 access. It gives the state far tighter controls over the counties and essentially makes dropboxes useless and prevents electoral officials from proactively sending postal requests to voters. It also allows partisan groups to question the eligibility of an infinite number of voters without restrictions. Conservatives have also found a carrier for their grievances in the idea that blue states with restrictive voter laws are being ignored while red states implementing the same laws have ripped away big baseball games from them. Connecticut has no early voting at all. Neither did Delaware, home of President Joe Biden. New Jersey just passed nine days, the fifth shortest window in the country, and New York only has ten days. Connecticut, Delaware, and New Jersey also have far more restrictive postal voting requirements than almost any state, including those in the Republican South. Why, you ask, do the republican states end up getting all the criticism? While I’ve had the same frustration as a Texan for a long time – when I lived in New York, for example, I could only vote in person on Election Day in my turf (the early 10 days were introduced last year), and in Texas I can go anywhere in the county vote for 15 days – the argument is unproductive. With the recent round of elections, the blue states are moving much faster towards modern standards, while the Republican states are aggressively trying to roll back the little advantages they had over their bluer counterparts (assuming, of course, they ever really had them). Since I left New York, it has adopted early voting and updated its postal voting requirements. It has implemented voting according to priority and synchronized primary plans of the federal and state governments. In the meantime, my home state has quickly gone in the other direction. As in Georgia and other Republican-led states, proposals in Texas would restrict access to some of its best voting guidelines by banning drive-through voting (which has been implemented with great success by Harris County, home of Houston), limiting absenteeism, and voting early voting would be reduced. Even the most draconian of these laws gives voters even more time to vote early than in Delaware, Connecticut, and New Jersey – but that’s not much comfort to a Texan. Read more at The Daily Beast. Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.