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However, Biden did not talk about that. Instead, he flogged Republican electoral laws. The approach appears to be geared to reflect Trump’s efforts to undermine his side’s trust in the electoral process, with a counter-attempt to undermine his own side’s trust in the electoral process.
In fact, if the Democrats lose in 2022 or 2024, Biden’s speech might be seen as an equally caustic excuse by the Democrats – it was the repression of Republican voters.
This method was already successfully tested by Stacey Abrams when she lost in the Georgia gubernatorial campaign in 2018. She refused to give in, and today they treat almost all Democrats as the rightful winner, despite the fact that there is no evidence that the election was far from free and fair (with high voter turnout).
According to Biden, the GOP’s electoral rules are one of the gravest insults against our democratic rights of all time. “The Jim Crow attack in the 21st century is real,” he said. “It is relentless and we will challenge it vigorously.”
He called this move “the hardest test of our democracy since the civil war” and made sure that the statement was not exaggerated, even if one can hardly imagine a more hyperbolic claim. Half the country left the union during the Civil War, threatened Washington with regular armed robbery, and fought for independence in a war that killed more than 600,000 people in what is apparently nothing like passing voter ID laws.
At one point, Biden referred to “Georgia’s vicious anti-electoral law”.
As the President himself might say, “Come on, man.”
Although it tends to be Appendix A in the Democrats’ argument against voting initiatives of the GOP, the Georgian law was extensively debated and refined in the legislative process before it was passed. The result is well-crafted laws that don’t even come close to falling back on Lester Maddox.
First of all, Georgia law extends the hours available for early voting and maintains the ballot boxes, an emergency measure taken during the pandemic, although the rules on it are tightened.
There are other important provisions for good reason. The law dispenses with the signature comparison, which Abrams criticized as being unreliable, in order to check postal votes; Instead, voters will be asked to provide a driver’s license or state ID number.
Long lines at polling stations are a constant complaint in Georgia and it must be said that this is largely the responsibility of the democratically run local jurisdictions. Where conduits are an endemic problem, the new law mandates that counties either reduce the size of the appropriate counties or add new equipment or workers.
Preliminary ballots are difficult for election administrators to use, and Abrams has long complained that they are not counted reliably. The law aims to reduce the number of provisional ballots by reducing a primary reason for provisional voting, that is, appearing in the wrong constituency. In the future, election workers will refer such voters to the correct district.
In the same vein, the law says voters cannot request a postal vote later than 11 days before the election – because many postal votes are rejected because they arrive too late.
Even if you reject each and every one of these measures, Georgia will still have a remarkably open electoral system, with online registration, extensive early voting, and unexcused absentee voting. When Henry Olsen of the Washington Post points out that most of the advanced countries in the world do not have all the different options to vote like Georgia. “If Georgia’s elections are undemocratic,” writes Olsen, “then almost all of our democratic allies are undemocratic.”
Biden either isn’t aware of this or doesn’t care – in other words, he’s either ruthlessly irresponsible or deeply cynical (and probably both).
The assumption that minor changes in electoral laws have a measurable impact on voter turnout, a central assumption of the democratic process against GOP electoral laws, is simply wrong. Voter identification laws did not suppress voter turnout. That of the Supreme Court Shelby The decision to end the federal pre-election review process in certain states has not prevented minorities from casting their votes. And states that introduced absentee absentee ballots last year had no higher voter turnouts than states that did not.
No matter how severe his attacks on GOP laws, Biden is unlikely to bring Democratic Electoral Law HR1 over the finish line in the Senate. But as Abrams has shown, the allegation of voter suppression is a powerful party motivator.
Biden implicitly nodded in that direction as he said, “We will do everything we can to educate voters about the changing laws, register them to vote, and then get the vote.”
No matter that this would not be possible under a new Jim Crow.
Biden’s talk may have been effective when it came to attracting his own supporters, but it wasn’t statecraft – or even remotely truthful.