Today, FiveThirtyEight published a new report breaking down Georgia Republicans’ self-described “reactionary” bills that restrict voting rights (despite not having “identified a problem”) in an attempt to give themselves a so-called “shot at winning.”
This latest report comes after Republicans have relentlessly pressed forward with anti-voting legislation including HB 531 and SB 241 — both of which would leave Georgia with some of the strictest absentee ballot laws in the country, adding burdensome and racist restrictions such as new ID requirements and limits to weekend early voting, while forcing counties to foot the bill for millions in unfunded mandates.
If passed, these restrictions on the right to vote would become the most significant assault on voting rights since Jim Crow, threatening to disenfranchise millions of voters who successfully used absentee voting in Georgia to express their will, and likely forcing counties to raise taxes to pay for the cost.
Read more from FiveThirtyEight about how Republicans are trying to roll back the voting rights in Georgia:
FiveThirtyEight: All The Ways Georgia Could Make It Harder To Vote
By Nathaniel Rakich
- According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a pro-voting-rights advocacy group, more than 165 bills restricting voting access have been proposed in 33 state legislatures — more than four times as many as had been proposed in February 2020.
- The ones that have received the most attention are probably those in Georgia, both because that state has emerged as one of the closest swing states in the country and because of how draconian the restrictions are.
- Regardless of the intention, the bills would undeniably have the practical effect of disenfranchising Black voters, who in Georgia are the Democratic base, at a disproportionate rate.
- For one thing, the ban on Sunday early voting would spell the end of “souls to the polls” voting events, which usher parishioners to polling places after Sunday morning services at predominantly Black churches.
- For another, the ban on giving out food and water would probably hit hardest in places with the longest lines to vote, which tend to be in predominantly nonwhite and lower-income communities.
- In addition, the local-control proviso in SB 241 would effectively allow the currently Republican-controlled secretary of state’s office to usurp the power of lower-level officials in Democratic and/or majority-minority counties.
- Likewise, under HB 531, DeKalb County (which is more than 70 percent nonwhite) would not be allowed to mail absentee-ballot applications to every voter and Fulton County (which is more than 60 percent nonwhite) would not be able to offer mobile voting buses, as they each did in 2020.
- And of course, the bills make it a lot harder to vote absentee by mail, a voting method used predominantly by Democrats in 2020.
- However, it’s not entirely clear that the absentee-voting stipulations of these bills would actually help Republicans all that much electorally.
- That is, Democrats may be likelier than Republicans to take advantage of absentee voting when it is available, but there’s no evidence that mail voting actually helps Democrats win.
- The lawmaking process also presents many hurdles, and these bills may go too far even for some Republicans.