After Reconstruction when Black voters obtained the right to vote, there have been serious efforts to limit their voting by raising all manner of obstacles as part of the Jim Crow laws that limited Black participation in civic life. The Republican party has for the longest time, ever since they realized that they were in danger of becoming the permanent minority party, sought to disenfranchise voting by poor and minority communities so that they could hold on to power by retaining a majority in the white community. In the past, these efforts were more discreet but Trump’s failure to win re-election and the loss of their majority in the senate by two senatorial defeats in Georgia, of all places, has resulted in a re-thinking. This is because despite their efforts at Black voter suppression and energizing their white voters to come out in record numbers for Trump, voters of color were energized even more and the increase in their numbers dwarfed increased white turnout.
This has clearly made the Republican party decide that they should double down on their minority disenfranchisement efforts across the nation as can be seen in those states where they control the state legislatures and the governorships and can pass legislation to that effect. The Brennan Center has highlighted these efforts at voter suppression using the myth of voter fraud.
The most recent Georgia law is the starkest example of this. In its efforts to suppress the vote, they have even made it a misdemeanor to provide food and water to people waiting in line to vote.
Senate Bill 202, now law, requires the use of a state ID to verify identity for an absentee ballot, which might be the least problematic provision. Absentee ballots will only be able to be dropped off during regular business hours at early voting locations. Coupled with strict legal limits on who can drop off a ballot, it effectively makes the use of the drop boxes impossible for people who work nontraditional hours.
While weekend early voting expanded under the law, the overall period of early voting was contracted. The law also allows the State Election Board to remove local election board officials for violations, replacing them with a state-appointed superintendent. Because larger jurisdictions like Atlanta have more voters, otherwise-competent administrators are more likely to err in violation simply as a matter of volume. The provision is a legal fig leaf for a state takeover of city elections.
In an effervescent finishing splash of absurd cruelty, the law makes giving food and water to people standing in line to vote a felony.
It appears that Florida also thinking of banning the giving of water and food to people waiting in line. Republicans in Georgia and Florida, no doubt all lovers of Jesus, do not seem to be familiar with the passage in Matthew 23:34-40 where he talks about how people will be judged at the end of time.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
I cannot believe that this aspect of the law will be upheld by the courts. I fully expect people to deliberately violate this law by handing out food and water to voters in line.
Will these voter suppression efforts work? As this article points out, it can backfire, since expansions of mail-in voting were done by many Republican-dominated states and Trump’s attacks on it may have harmed Republicans more than Democrats. Republican voters tend to be older and benefit from mail in voting and the like.
But there could be another factor. When your attempts to attack people’s rights become too obvious, then it can make people even more determined to to vote. Even if they do not have strong views on the issues, people who see that they are being targeted for voter suppression may become even more determined to vote simply because to not do so would be to give a victory to those seeking to stop them from voting. In other words, voter suppression efforts may make make voting an end in itself rather than a means to an end.
So the same people who say it infringes on their freedom to make them wear a mask, also want to infringe on our freedom to give drinks to voters in a long line.
johnson catman says
Wait . . . you expect the bible-thumpers to actually READ their holy book and heed its advice?
johnson catman says
I hit “Post” instead of “Preview” before I added that they only use their “holy book” as a cudgel against whatever they don’t like. Any good messages that may be in there are totally ignored.
@3 Any good messages that may be in there are purely accidental.
Where I’m at in suburban Detroit, I can easily vote in person. I like to, too, because of the feeling of community. However, I’ve voted by mail in the last several elections strictly because The Bad People don’t want me to.
Marcus Ranum says
I’m shocked that any political party that engages in racially-determined voter suppression based on race, or racially-based redistricting could be called “racist”! It just isn’t fair! They want to be called “unicorns” instead, apparently.
Marcus Ranum says
To be fair, they’re not just racists -- some of them are QAnonners.
I think more troublesome is this part of the new law:
If an election board makes a minor mistake, they can be removed and replaced with a single-person, appointed by the state legislature (or possibly the governor), will take over. Replacing knowledgeable local officials with partisan appointees. This is pretty much guarantees increased voter disenfranchisement of people from a political party opposing the appointee. In this case, replacing local, knowledgeable, bi-partisan, boards of elections with republican appointees not responsible to the local government but to the state.
It’s also another indication that the current republican party is not the party of smaller, less intrusive, government but fascist authoritarians. Of course, it’s been long obvious that the republican party’s claim of supporting smaller government is not honest.
This is basically the same as the Emergency Manager laws which were so popular among republican legislatures a decade ago, before the citizens of Flint, Michigan, ended up with lead poisoning from their water supply. We saw how well that strategy of replacing local officials with partisan appointees worked.
I thought that there was an obvious loophole: Have volunteer vendors with stocked rolling carts and huge signs that say: “The law says that we cannot approach you to give you food and water, but it says nothing about you approaching us to ‘buy’ food and water. PS: PRICE: $FREE!”
In my opinion, this whole discussion misses the most important point.
If your lines are long enough that people require food and water while waiting, you are not living in a democracy but in a failed state.
Numenaster, whose eyes are up here says
The new mail voting rules also require that the outside of your mailed ballot show your driver’s license number and your date of birth. The state of Georgia now requires that you risk identity theft to vote by mail.
Australian Commonwealth Electoral Act:
The law is federal and can’t be over-ridden by states.
The only restriction I could find on approaching people queuing to vote is that voters may not be canvassed for their votes within 6m (~20ft) of the entrance to the polling place.
Many Republicans, like many christians, are hypocrites who pick and choose whatever suits their needs, whether it’s from the bible or the Constitution. And they feel no shame in doing so.