How crazy are the voter suppression efforts getting in Georgia? This crazy

Volunteers handed out bottled water and snacks to voters during 2020 primary early voting in Atlanta. Six-hour waits to cast a ballot at the precinct were common all day. John McCosh/Georgia Recorder

As you’ve probably heard by now, the Trump cult is exacting revenge on the voters of Georgia for having had the temerity to help turn the Dear Leader out of office.

As Georgia Recorder columnist Jay Bookman explained last week, Trump’s outrageous “voter fraud” lie has spurred lawmakers in the Peach State to advance of raft of bills during the 2021 legislative session that would make it harder to vote in future elections.

Were it not for the inconvenient fact — for the Trumpists, that is — that their guy actually prevailed in North Carolina, you can rest assured we’d have seeing the same quantity and quality of voter suppression legislation here in our legislature — though, of course, it’s still early.

Here’s Bookman:

The election-fraud lie has had a functional as well as narrative value for Republicans. Until now, it has given them cover for imposing a long series of voter-suppression measures, intended to create an artificially small and restricted electorate in which they can better compete. There’s no better example of that than the current session of the Georgia General Assembly, in which the historic defeats in 2020 have whipped Republicans into a desperate frenzy of voter-suppression legislation.

They aren’t concentrating on how to help Georgia’s schoolchildren recover from a largely lost year of education, or how to bolster our public-health system, or how to improve the state’s atrocious Covid vaccination rate. (Georgia ranks 49th in percentage of doses administered, and 50th in the percentage of population to have gotten at least one shot). Instead, they’re spending time and energy trying to eliminate no-excuse absentee balloting, reducing early-voting opportunities, undermining the independence and authority of the secretary of state and even banning the provision of food and water to voters stranded in long lines (emphasis supplied).

If you thought that last line was a joke, think again. As Bookman’s Recorder colleague Ross Williams reported this morning, Georgia Republicans are serious about denying food and water to line waiters:

The bill proposes to limit early voting and require identification to vote absentee, and also bans so-called line warming, offering gifts, “including, but not limited to, food and drink” to a voter within 150 feet of a poll.

The bill also bans giving any food or drink within 25 feet of a voter waiting in line. State law already prohibits giving money or gifts in an attempt to get someone to vote, register to vote or vote for a particular candidate.

As Williams also explains:

Long lines disproportionately affect areas in Georgia with large Black populations. According to an analysis by Georgia Public Broadcasting and Pro Publica, about two-thirds of the polling places that stayed open late for the June primary were in majority-Black neighborhoods, even though they made up only about one-third of the state’s polling places.

The explanation for the proposal is that it would prevent people from — God forbid! — talking to people in line about how they plan to vote. But as one Atlanta resident who handed out a lot of snacks last year to voters notes “there’s no campaigning involved in giving out the snacks and water.”

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