EDITORIAL: Colorado should join MLB, Microsoft, justified in punishing Georgia GOP for racist voting laws

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Ann White of Roswell holds protest signs on the North Wing stairs of the Georgia State Capitol building on day 38 of the legislative session in Atlanta, Thursday, March 25, 2021. “It ain’t over yet,” said White. “I look forward to going door-to-door working against everybody that voted for (SB 202).” The Georgia state House has passed legislation brought by Republicans that could lead to a sweeping overhaul of state election law. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Not so very long ago, another generation of Georgia politicians tried to persuade anti-racism activists that state legislators were striving for equity when passing controversial, restrictive laws.

In regulating amateur baseball, Georgia state lawmakers agreed that, “It shall be unlawful for any amateur white baseball team to play baseball on any vacant lot or baseball diamond within two blocks of a playground devoted to the Negro race, and it shall be unlawful for any amateur colored baseball team to play baseball in any vacant lot or baseball diamond within two blocks of any playground devoted to the white race,” according to numerous citations.

Into the 1960s, when this “Jim Crow” segregation law was finally repealed, it would have been unthinkable that a league baseball team or pick-up game among friends would have traveled into parts of Georgia “reserved” for Black residents, and then played ball. What the racist law was clearly intended to do was to keep any Black person from wandering into parts of town exclusively reserved for white people to play baseball in inarguably superior “white” parks.

The argument for this and other Jim Crow laws in Georgia at the time, affecting barbers, interracial marriage, restaurants and even mental hospitals, were touted as ways to protect the integrity of institutions, fairly and equitably. There were thousands of elected officials who fought hard to persuade others that there truly was virtue and equity in all things “separate but equal.”

That was the racists’ “truth.”

Georgia Republican lawmakers and GOP Gov. Brian Kemp are trying to make the same arguments about changes in their state voting laws that clearly and shamelessly restrict the ease and access of voting “equally” among everyone in Georgia.

“I am telling you the truth,” Kemp told a public radio reporter last week. “It expands access.”

Whom to believe? Your own eyes, ears and good sense or a group of lawmakers who just weeks ago actively worked to overturn legitimate presidential election results and perpetrate a fraud on the state, and the nation?

In a stunning November upset, Georgia voters gave Democrat Joe Biden an electoral college surprise by ending decades of conservative tradition and snubbing Republican Donald Trump. Soon after, Georgia voters elected two Democratic senators in hard-fought runoff elections.

It was a remarkable win in the middle of unparalleled histrionics among Trump and his supporters, who repeatedly lied about widespread voter fraud and chaos in Georgia and other states.

It is unequivocal that in Georgia, and across the country, there was no evidence then nor now of widespread voter fraud. The fraud was perpetrated by Trump and his cronies, trying to throw the election for their own nefarious gains.

And Georgia was in the thick of the lies, distractions and an inter-Republican battle to find a way to allow Trump to cheat.

So when Kemp insists he speaks the “truth” about election changes, these new Georgia laws cannot be examined outside of that reality.

The new Georgia laws were clearly created to make voting more difficult for everyone. But the reality is, poorer people — disproportionately people of color — who do not have the liberty and resources to battle state bureaucracies and senseless voting rules to cast their ballots, traditionally give up that battle first. No vote from a Democrat is a winning vote for Republicans.

That’s the truth. That’s why in Colorado, voting has been made equally easy and accessible for everyone. Every registered voter gets a mailed ballot. Every registered voter gets plenty of time to receive, complete and return the ballot. Every registered voter has easily accessible places to return ballots, close to home.

The result? More voters of every persuasion vote in greater numbers, across the entire state. Voter participation in Colorado is among the highest in the country. And despite repeated, unfounded allegations, even staunch Republican prosecutors here have never turned up more than an odd case or two of voter “fraud.”

Despite that evidence, and as other states like Colorado expand mail-voter access, many states have found it easy to suppress voter participation among poor people and people of color simply by blocking ways to make voting as convenient and secure as possible.

That is the truth Kemp and other Georgia Republicans omit from their own version of reality.

What most conservatives and liberals agree on, is that voting is among the most critical and fundamental of rights in the United States.

While racist laws preventing the freedom of hair cuts and pick-up baseball games are abhorrent, racist laws preventing the fundamental right to vote are intolerable. Suppressing the votes of the poor and Black voters in Georgia directly impacts citizens across the nation.

Such unrestrained racism and discrimination certainly warrants not only outrage among the rest of the country, it also justifies actions taken by Major League Baseball and large corporations in an effort to combat efforts of Republicans to throw further elections in that state. 

“That’s why we are concerned about many aspects of Georgia’s new “Election Integrity Act,” Microsoft officials said in a statement.

“We are concerned by the law’s impact on communities of color, on every voter, and on our employees and their families. We share the views of other corporate leaders that it’s not only right but essential for the business community to stand together in opposition to the harmful provisions and other similar legislation that may be considered elsewhere.”

Kemp and other Republicans say they’re outraged corporations like Microsoft and, now, Major League Baseball, have “politicized” the issue by intervening.

Critics of corporate complaints rightfully point out that Black people and the poor are equally endangered by threats of boycotts and political pressure to reverse the clear attempt at voter suppression.

They’re right, and that’s not the kind of equality the nation should be striving for. But without these and even greater acts of rebellion from clear-sighted corporations, the rights of voters in Georgia will be diminished and lawmakers there will have the power to influence and throw future elections, continuing this and other policies that clearly undermine the rights of Black people and the poor in Georgia.

Is there risk in adversely affecting innocent people in an effort to hold elected officials accountable for racist moves. In the short term, yes. There is, however, far too much at risk to lose, and too much to gain by these efforts.

Colorado lawmakers and corporations should join Coca Cola, Delta Airlines, Microsoft and Major League Baseball in forcing Georgia to undo their racist and unconstitutional attempts to limit the rights of all voters, effectively suppressing the votes mostly of Black and poor Georgians.

That is the truth Kemp hasn’t shared.

 

 

 

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Mike Robinson
Mike Robinson
7 days ago

Read the law

Bob Cryar
Bob Cryar
7 days ago

I want my vote to count. I do not want it watered down by voters that take advantage of poorly worded laws that prevent voter verification. If asking for a picture ID to vote is suppression, then do away with all rules and regulations dealing with votes. Let he who lies best be the leader of our government .
Very few people who are complaining about the GA law have read it. Very few people that are comparing it to the Jim Crow laws even know what they were.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
6 days ago
Reply to  Bob Cryar

“He who lies best” was the leader of our government for 4 years.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
6 days ago

The “one person, one vote” precept is the foundation of any democracy. We tout ourselves as the oldest and greatest “democracy” among nations. Therefore it behooves us to do everything we can to make voting as easy and simple as possible for everyone, be he Democrat or Republican, black or white. The new Georgia flies in the face of this concept and is contrary to good public policy.

Phids
Phids
6 days ago
Reply to  Joe Felice

So Joe, based on what you have just said, you are arguing that children should have the right to vote. Not only that, but you want it “as easy and simple as possible”. I can imagine that voting for preschoolers could be done in their schools. Or maybe at home via an app supplied by Google or the Democratic Party. Of course, all of this is the ramification of what you just said, and of course, it is crazy. Perhaps you should rethink your basic premises about voting.

C K
C K
6 days ago
Reply to  Joe Felice

Which parts of the Georgia law specifically do not make it easy and simple for people to vote?

Darrell Birkey
Darrell Birkey
6 days ago
Reply to  Joe Felice

You haven’t read the Georgia law. By the way, we are not and never have been a democracy. We are a representative republic. The founders hate democracy which is basically mob rule. That’s why the Constitution originally only allowed the people to vote for their congressman and not their Senators nor the President.
Because people has a lust to rule over their neighbors, they demanded to vote for Senate and President. Our government was expected to to what is best for the people, not listen to the will of the people. There has never been evidence that the majority has wisdom and most people do not.

Sarah Jacob
Sarah Jacob
5 days ago
Reply to  Joe Felice

Read the bill

Don Black
Don Black
5 days ago
Reply to  Joe Felice

Why does making sure elections are fair by requiring ID become racist? Democrats don’t want anyone to have to show ID which will lead to massive fraud. I really don’t want the horde of illegal immigrants voting for the party they feel obligated to for not enforcing our laws. Good public policy would require that we insure people are real voters. Do you think black people are such cripples that they can’t get an ID? Sounds racist to me.

David young
David young
6 days ago

Did this author read the law? Or Twitter? This is the dumbest article I have ever seen. It’s like an 8th grade creative writing assignment. Such a disservice to people to read this. This author needs to read the letter. Better yet, ask the liberal Washington post about it. Even they realize it’s not what the media is saying.

Ann Loftin
Ann Loftin
6 days ago

Maybe I missed it, but I don’t see included in your editorial any mention of the specific portion of the law that you deem as racist or how it suppresses votes. My assumption is you didn’t read the law.
The only portion in this article I consider to have a racist slant is the suggestion that people of color aren’t capable of being able to vote as a result of the law. The author should check his/her bigotry of low expectations.
They can’t get an ID? Georgia offers free IDs and, if you read the law, you will see how many forms of ID they will accept, including a utility bill. If lack of ID is truly a problem, I suggest that instead of Get Out The Vote campaigns, we should have a Get An ID campaign, because life is extremely difficult without one.
There are long lines? The law includes instructions as to what is to be done for polling locations with lines longer than an hour. Long lines in GA typically happen in specific counties, more often than not the ones run by Democrats.
They can’t be given water? They can be given water by poll workers and are able and capable of bringing their own.
This law clarifies items, such as changing the wording that early voting is available during “business hours” to “9:00 – 5:00 with the option to open at 7:00 and close at 7:00.” Surely this isn’t the voter suppression you are referring to.
Anyway, add me to the list of people suggesting you actually read the law before writing an article with such defamatory statements about Georgia and Governor Kemp.

Patrick Hanna
Patrick Hanna
6 days ago

Colorado’s voter ID laws are just as stringent as the new Georgia Law. Did you even read the law? Did you bother reading that polls show 69% of black voters in Georgia are in favor of the law?

Did you know that, in the name of racial equality, MLB just removed a major financial windfall from a predominantly black area and awarded it to a lily white area?

Who’s the racist, again?

Darrell Birkey
Darrell Birkey
6 days ago

The writer hasn’t read the law. It increases early voting hours during the week and adds some Saturdays and Sundays to make it easier to vote. Since there are almost double the amount of poor white people than black people, this can’t be racist in any way. Voter ID is not restrictive and Georgia makes free voter IDs available at the DMV and at the voter registration office. Georgia’s law is no more racist than Colorado. Georgia still allows mail in voting and no excuse needed absentee voting.
The lie about food and water not allowed is often repeated but the law specifically allows elections officials to provide food and water in Georgia. It just prevents party operatives from talking to or giving gifts to those in line and that would include food and water.
By they way, in my 8 years of voting in CO, there was never food or water offered. The same is true when I lived in IN, OH and WI.

Greg R.
Greg R.
6 days ago

Classic. Suggesting secure elections for all citizens are racist. That’s either a brilliant approach or a massive dose of stupidity. Likely the latter. I’m tired of the liberal narrative and lack of any facts in virtually all their arguments. The author of the editorial should be embarrassed to spew this BS. I’m a Georgian. I’ll give up the MLB all star game every year for secure elections. Who cares. Secure elections are the cornerstone of truth, not simple and easy elections. It’s a right and a privilege for citizens to vote. If you don’t want to do the basics to be able to vote, that’s your choice to be lazy and not take advantage of your right. Any citizen can get a free government ID card. With this continued ridiculous drum beat of liberals on major issues like this, I’m hopeful conservatives finally get tired (like me) of the lies and BS and do something about it.

Jim
Jim
6 days ago

Funny. Colorado’s voting laws are almost identical.

Denver_dad
5 days ago

The ReTrumplicants started the misinformation/disinformation campaign about the last election hoping to create confusion and distrust of our electoral process. They succeeded in convincing the willing, who seem unable to use critical thinking. Goebbels’ use of ‘the big lie’ still proves useful for those who wish to be convinced of untruths.

Wesley
Wesley
5 days ago

First time looking at this esteemed publication. Looking at the + and – votes on responses, easy to see how most of the readers roll.

Calling Georgia leadership “a group of lawmakers who just weeks ago actively worked to overturn legitimate presidential election results and perpetrate a fraud on the state, and the nation” is farcical. Kemp and GOP leadership in fact received a lot of heat for not investigating more aggressively allegations of fraud. Anyone who was watching know this.

“It is unequivocal that in Georgia, and across the country, there was no evidence then nor now of widespread voter fraud.” That is very much a judgment call. There is substantial evidence of questionable practices and violations of election rules intended to ensure election integrity. Enough to have changed the outcome of the election? Who knows, probably not, but we don’t know for sure because of lax rules and lack of thorough investigation.

“The new Georgia laws were clearly created to make voting more difficult for everyone.” This opinion piece backs this statement up with, well, nothing.
The greatest irony here is the MLB All Star game has now been moved to a state with voting laws pretty much the same as Georgia’s. laws pretty much the same as Georgia .