The White House argued Tuesday that high turnout and voter suppression could happen simultaneously, in defense of President Joe Biden’s criticism of Georgia’s electoral law.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about Georgia’s record early voter turnout, a state president Joe Biden claimed to have a “Jim Crow”-esque voting system.
“High turnout and voter suppression can happen at the same time,” she said at her press conference.
She pointed out that President Biden was referring to the slew of voting laws passed after Donald Trump’s false claim that he was the real winner of the 2020 presidential election and the victim of vote fraud.
Republican-controlled states have introduced tougher voting policies in the wake of those elections. Due to the covid pandemic, many states had expanded absentee voting and mailing by 2020.
By 2022, at least seven states will pass ten laws that will make voting more difficult. Brennan Center for Justice.
“The president has been very clear that based on The Big Lie, there has been a host of anti-voter policies for some states that are testing Americans’ fundamental right to vote,” Jean-Pierre said. “This is against our most basic values.”
“Of course, high voter turnout and voter suppression can happen at the same time,” she added. “One doesn’t have to come naturally. It can happen at the same time.’
She declined to go into more specific details, citing the Hatch Act, a federal law that prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity at work.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about Georgia’s record early voter turnout, a state president Joe Biden claimed he had a ‘Jim Crow’-style voting bill: ‘High turnout and voter suppression can happen at the same time ,’ she said
Citizens cast their votes this week for November’s midterm elections at early polls in Fulton County, Atlanta, Georgia
In March 2021, Biden called Georgia’s newly passed voting law “Jim Crow in the 21st century” and “an atrocity.”
Biden won Georgia in 2020 and Trump is under investigation in the state over allegations that he and his allies pressured state officials to reverse the results in the presidential contest.
Georgia’s new law sets new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, restricts the use of ballot boxes, makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water, and gives state officials more power over local elections.
It is in effect for the November 8 election that will determine control of Congress. On that date, the state also elects a new governor.
By Sunday, about 838,000 Georgians had cast their ballots, most in person at polling stations ahead of time, the rest returned the ballots.
That is almost 60% higher than the total of the votes at the moment in 2018, the last midterm elections.
More than 10% of registered voters in Georgia have already voted, a share lagging only in Massachusetts and Vermont, where 22% and 16% of voters have submitted ballots, according to an Associated Press analysis of data collected by Professor Michael of the University of Florida McDonald.
California and Florida have each accepted more than 1 million ballots to date. And national numbers are likely to accelerate this week as more states open early in-person polls or send ballots to voters.
“We’re seeing very strong numbers of people voting early, so right now we should see a turnout crater before Election Day for the trajectory we’re going to change,” McDonald said.
Georgia Passed New Voting Bill After 2020 Election, President Joe Biden Called It A ‘Jim Crow’-Like Law
Youth pass a voting information board on the Emory University campus in Atlanta, Georgia
Republicans have seized the Georgia numbers as justification for their 2021 state election law rewrite.
They hope to re-elect Governor Brian Kemp, who narrowly triumphed over Democrat Stacey Abrams in 2018, and boost Herschel Walker over Raphael Warnock, the Democrat who won a second round in the Senate in January 2021.
Turnout is record-breaking, said Tate Mitchell, a spokesman for the Kemp campaign, “as Stacey Abrams continues to spread the myth of voter suppression.”
Abrams resists that mockery as she too celebrates the high early turnout.
“More people in the water doesn’t mean fewer sharks,” Abrams said Monday.
“It’s wrong to suggest that there is a link between voter turnout and voter suppression, because suppression is about barriers,” Abrams said. “If those barriers don’t quite succeed, credit won’t go to those who erected the barriers. The credit goes to those voters who have found a way to navigate, overwhelm and overcome those barriers.”
The spike in early turnout has coincided with Abrams encouraging her supporters to vote in person and not to use postal ballots. She heavily promoted the mail-ins in her loss to Kemp four years ago — as did Democrats elsewhere to their advantage during the 2020 pandemic election.
However, the Georgian voting law of 2021 added identification requirements to the postal voting process and severely limited the number of drop boxes used during the 2020 cycle in urban counties, which lean heavily toward Democrats.
The law also made it easier for anyone to challenge an individual voter’s eligibility and reduced the ability to cast a preliminary vote if a voter shows up at the wrong polling station on Election Day.
Republicans hope to re-elect Governor Brian Kemp, who narrowly triumphed over Democrat Stacey Abrams in 2018, Abrams is challenging him again this year
The Abrams campaign says more than 90,000 voters have contested their eligibility, mostly by conservative groups, though many of those challenges have been rejected.
Kemp defeated Abrams by about 55,000 votes four years ago. President Biden won Georgia’s electoral votes by about 11,500 votes in 2020, and Warnock won his runoff election in the Senate by about 95,000 votes.
Given the changes to the electoral law, Democrats are urging supporters to vote as soon as possible during the early in-person voting window, which began Oct. 17 and runs through Nov. 4, four days before Election Day.
The idea is that if committed Democrats vote early, the party can shift its focus to others, and reduce the crowds in the last week of early voting.
Lauren Groh-Wargo, Abrams campaign manager, said Monday that “the high turnout in week one has been an important part of our strategy” and the campaign does not believe the vote will decrease.
Abrams’ strategy, from the beginning of her first run for governor four years ago, has been to expand the electorate by winning over sporadic voters, especially among younger generations and non-whites of all ages. She is black, Kemp is white.
Groh-Wargo said 16% of primary voters so far, including mail and in person, did not vote in Georgia in 2018, according to the campaign’s analysis. She went on to say that about 55,000 of those asked did not vote in 2020, when the Democrats won.
Those trends, she said, suggest the strategy is working, at least in the early days of the early voting. But Kemp has taken the lead in nearly all public polls, and his campaign continues to try to reach beyond Republican partisans to win over independents and some black voters.
“We are confident that Governor Kemp’s success and his vision for the future will continue to win voters from across the Peach state,” Mitchell said.
Abrams’ campaign so far has praised a high black turnout, with about 35.5% of pre-announcements coming from black voters. In 2020, when Biden won, that was 33% via a week-advance vote. In 2018, when Abrams lost, it was 31%.
Groh-Wargo also highlighted black men, saying that the campaign’s analysis shows that about 97,000 black men have already voted; that was about 45,000 at this point during Abrams’ losing effort. Abrams, who would become the first female black governor in the United States, has focused more openly on reaching black men in her second campaign.
Georgia’s electorate does not yet reflect a rise in female turnout, even as Democrats insist that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion, will affect women nationally. .
Data shows that the pre-vote so far is 54.5% female, which is about the average in Georgia’s general election. It is noteworthy, however, that 59% of the ballot applicants are women, and most of them have yet to be returned. So the electorate could still be more female than usual.