by Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial Board, June 5, 2022
Democrats spent months criticizing new voting laws in Georgia and other states as a return to “Jim Crow.” Then election turnout soared.
Georgia recently held its primary election, which included several high-profile races. The most interesting numbers, however, involved voter turnout rather than winning percentages.
This was the first major election since Georgia passed a series of election integrity measures last year. The new law requires voter ID for absentee ballots, expanded early voting and established an election fraud hotline. It banned election officials from sending out absentee ballot applications and limited drop boxes. It also prohibited campaigns from soliciting votes by giving gifts, including food and water, to those waiting in line to vote.
National Democrats decried the law in apocalyptic terms.
“Jim Crow 2.0 is about two insidious things: voter suppression and election subversion,” President Joe Biden said. “It’s no longer about who gets to vote; it’s about making it harder to vote.”
He went so far as to say that supporters of Georgia’s law were on the side of Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis.
He was hardly alone. Vice President Kamala Harris also claimed GOP voting laws “make it harder for you to vote.” Democrats’ Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams called the new law “racist.”
Corporate America weighed in, too. Major League Baseball moved its All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest. Commissioner Rob Manfred said MLB “opposes restrictions to the ballot box.” National outlets framed their coverage in a similar way. In a news report, The New York Times said the bill “will limit ballot access” and “potentially confuse voters.” The Washington Post wrote “new restrictions on voting” are “likely to make it disproportionately more difficult for poorer voters and voters of color to cast their ballots.”
This outrageous hyperbole was purely political given that several blue northeastern states have far more restrictive voting laws. And it didn’t take long to prove these partisan predictions false.
More than 850,000 Georgians voted before primary Election Day this year. That’s well more than twice as many people who voted early in the 2018 or 2020 primaries. Overall, turnout soared. More than 1.9 million voters cast ballots in this year’s primary. In 2018, it was around 1.2 million.
“I had heard that they were going to try to deter us in any way possible,” Patsy Reid, a 70-year-old African American woman, told The Post. But that’s not what happened. “To go in there and vote as easily as I did and to be treated with the respect that I knew I deserved as an American citizen — I was really thrown back.”
That sound you hear is reality smacking demagoguery square in the face.