On one of the last days of 2020, I tried to speak to Georgian proxy Stacey Abrams about the upcoming Senate runoff elections, but she tried to speak to me about what would come later: cracking down on Republican electoral access to ensure that nothing like Joe Biden’s victory or the coming victories (she predicted) of Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock could ever happen again in Georgia.
While transcribing the interview I wrote: “… long discussion at 5:45 am about what happens afterwards. Transcribe later. “I’m embarrassed to share this, but this is the news business. I had a run-off time to the runoff. Then I briefly covered Warnock and Ossoff’s victories. Then violent white supremacists raided the Capitol. Then a new administration took over: I didn’t “transcribe later”.
Until now. Because, as always, Abrams was right about the GOP’s 2021 playbook. Since those hard-won Senate victories, Georgia Republicans have been working overtime – trying to figure out how to appeal to the growing majority of the state’s African-American, Latino, and Asian-American voters, along with fed up suburban women and college students. educated white people, including the young. No, there was no post-mortem autopsy, no “what went wrong” examination by the State party. You know what went wrong: Too many Democrats voted. So the focus is on using whatever means necessary to prevent them from voting.
Abrams saw it come back in December. “Here in Georgia, the Republicans already told us they wanted to exempt the laws they made!” She said to me. “They were the ones who allowed apologetic absentee voting, who allowed the use of ballot boxes. They used the system for years and were utterly confident. “The same day we spoke, Cobb County had conducted a GOP-required signature check on requests for postal votes. Out of more than 15,000 records checked, they found 10 irregularities – but all 10 voters were legally registered and eligible to vote. “The audit proves that the process we have is working,” Abrams told me. “That’s the problem for them – the process works.”
She also correctly predicted that similar voter suppression laws would find their way through GOP-controlled legislations in other 2020 swing states – Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin among them – that applied to Biden. In fact, during the first two months of this year, Republicans passed 253 bills in 43 states to make voting more difficult. after Ari Berman in Mother jones.
But Abrams couldn’t have predicted just how brazen the GOP’s upcoming voter suppression plan would be, which includes several dozen bills to restrict access to ballot papers. Separate House and Senate bills would not only end apologetic absentee voting and restrict the use of postal voting boxes. They are reducing the number of early voting days – including Sundays favored by black churches for “Souls to the Polls” rallies – adding new postal ballot ID rules and limiting the time it takes to return those ballots is available. It would be cruelest if they committed a state crime of “pipe warming” – by offering those waiting in long lines any type of food or drink most commonly found in low-income areas.