A group of 21 black leaders defended Georgia’s recently passed voting law in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee members on Tuesday, calling the criticism of such laws a campaign to sow division and misinformation as part of a broader agenda by the Democrats to nationalize voting laws.
“It has become clear that even well-intentioned critics of the law simply have no idea what the law is,” the community leaders wrote in their letter (pdf) to the senators.
“It is clear they have no idea how favorably Georgia’s new law compares with most other states—including President Biden’s home state of Delaware. And it is clear they have no idea that a majority of black voters across the country support the key provision under attack by critics—the simple requirement that voters be able to identify themselves when voting. This is the same simple requirement needed to pick up baseball tickets or board a plane,” the letter continued.
President Joe Biden and his administration criticized the recent Georgia voting measure as a racist effort to suppress votes.
“The Georgia voting law—like so many others being pursued by Republicans in statehouses across the country—is a blatant attack on the right to vote, the Constitution, and good conscience. It’s Jim Crow in the 21st Century—and it must end,” wrote Biden in a March 26 Twitter post.
The White House did not return a request for comment on the president’s remarks on Georgia’s new voting laws.
“Instead, critics of the law have substituted passion for reason, hysteria for judgment,” the leaders wrote to Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). “They have launched a despicable smear campaign against supporters of the law and economic reprisals against the state of Georgia—punishing the very people they claim to champion. They have tarred with the brush of racism people whose only sin is a desire for confidence in our elections.”
The letter was sent the same day the Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled: “The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote.” The meeting addresses state legislatures introducing and enacting new voting laws, which Democrats are calling an assault on voting rights and Republicans are saying secure the voting process.
Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah) testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and called the comparison of Georgia’s new voter law to Jim Crow laws “outrageous.”
“But as someone who’s actually experienced Jim Crow laws, I like to set the record straight on the myths regarding the recently passed Georgia State law, and why any comparison between this law and Jim Crow is absolutely outrageous.”
“In addition, Jim Crow laws like the poll tax, property tests, literacy tests, and violent intimidation at the polls made it nearly impossible for black Americans to vote. The section of the Georgia law that has brought so much outrage from the left, simply requires any person applying for an absentee ballot to include evidence of a government-issued ID on the application,” continued Burgess.
Jim Crow laws were state and local rules enacted in the south by Democrat-dominated state legislatures to disenfranchise black people and prevent them from making political or economic gains.
“Growing up as a black teenager during the 1960s, I knew the tremendous sacrifices and dangers that my friends and relatives endured to secure the right to vote for black Americans,” James said. “So, let me be perfectly clear: I have zero interest in suppressing the vote of any portion of the population.”
“But that’s not what’s happening in Georgia or other states pursuing election reforms,” she continued. “Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
The black leaders assert that the Democrats’ real agenda behind attacking states’ voting laws, like the one in Georgia, is to have the federal government take control of the nation’s voting rules.
“The real agenda behind these attacks on Georgia’s new election law and the smears against supporters of voter identification is to create the political environment for a sweeping new power grab by folks in Washington,” the leaders write.
The letter is referring to the Democrats’ H.R. 1, a broad piece of legislation passed in the House in early March that would federalize and make permanent many of the election reforms adopted as temporary measures in 2020 because of the pandemic.
“A little provision where taxpayers will be forced to subsidize the campaigns of the very politicians now supporting HR1,” the letter states about the Democrats’ bill, “What a massive conflict of interest.”
“Political agendas that have nothing to do with enhancing election security and voter access are involved. If we sincerely hope to make it easier for all Americans to vote and harder for those who want to cheat, attacking the people of Georgia is not a solution,” the letter concludes.
Besides James, some of the others who signed the letter, are former ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Campaign, Ken Blackwell; civil rights leader, Dr. Alveda King; former Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones; the chairman of the Texas GOP, Col. Allen West; North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson; former Small Business Administration advocate, Bruce LeVell; former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, former Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill.
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