Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Republican governor and purger of 340,000 voters in 2018, visited Fox News for a dose of Republican Rehab on the voter suppression bill he was about to sign into law.
Host Neil Cavuto outsourced reporting on the effects of the bill to Kemp by saying, “sweeping new restrictions on voting, that’s what critics say,” and it’s “meant to help Republicans and hurt Democrats. Is that true?”
Sure enough, Kemp pretended the bill is not about trying to disenfranchise Democrats or people of color. “When you look at this bill and what I stand for, and I have for over a decade, is we need to have secure, accessible, fair elections, and we’ve done that,” he said.
He claimed the bill is meant “to take away from the unconstitutional power grab of H.R. 1 that’s going on in Washington, D.C. right now” and that Georgia’s bill “further secures our absentee ballots by mail by requiring a photo ID requirement which the vast majority of Georgians support. It also is adding days of early voting on the weekends, so we’re actually expanding the right to vote.”
The bill, known as SB 202, gives state-level officials the authority to usurp the powers of county election boards — allowing the Republican-dominated state government to potentially disqualify voters in Democratic-leaning areas. It criminalizes the provision of food and water to voters waiting in line, in a state where lines are notoriously long in heavily nonwhite precincts. It requires ID for absentee ballots and limits the placement of ballot drop boxes.
Kemp’s favorite selling point seemed to be that the law owns the Democrats, which undercut his pretense of fairness. He said the law is “further securing absentee ballot boxes which didn’t exist before, and it’s completely contrary to what they’re trying to do in D.C. by doing away with the state’s photo ID requirement, by doing away with it being illegal to harvest ballots in Georgia.”
“I fought very hard for over a decade now to keep our voter rolls secure when I was Secretary of State,” Kemp continued, “and certainly support that as governor and you wouldn’t be able to do that with H.R. 1. The people really need to look at who’s trying to restrict things is the Democrats in Washington.”
FACT CHECK: H.R. 1 is not a law. But if it were, it would thwart Georgia's SB 202, not the other way around.
Kemp claimed, Republicans “continue to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”
After a clip of President Biden ripping the law was played, Kemp said, “If he thinks expanding weekend voting is un-American and if he thinks having a photo ID requirement to go vote is un-American, then perhaps we shouldn’t have to go through the airport or deal with all kinds of ID requirements when you’re getting federal benefits and other things. He obviously doesn’t realize what’s in the final version of the Georgia bill. He’s probably been reading things on Twitter for people that are fundraising saying that we’re restricting or limiting in Georgia and that’s not the case. We’re securing the vote. I think most people want that.”
Then Kemp really jumped the shark. He called the bill, “the most American thing that you can do in this country.”
You can watch Kemp try to put lipstick on the pig of voter suppression below, from the March 25, 2021 Your World.
The point of the Georgia law and various other restrictions being inflicted by angry Right Wing state legislatures is to make sure that they can restrict non-white and non-Republican voters from prevailing. The intention is to limit the ability of people to vote, and to force non-white voters into unbelievably long lines and then likely deny them access (as has happened in various states where the polling places slam their doors in the faces of voters because it’s after 6pm even though they’d been standing there for hours)/ In the event of a close election, the Republicans would now be able to completely fog the situation and toss out whatever votes they needed in order to ensure their continued domination.
The truly unhappy postscript to the Georgia law, among the others, is that it is almost certain to be appealed up to the current Extreme Right Wing Supreme Court, where there is a 6-3 majority waiting to make sure that laws like these prevail. (This will be done under the notion that States’ Rights override everything else, given that each state has jurisdiction about how elections are conducted within its borders) Unless something truly odd happens at the Supreme Court, this law will be in full effect by November 2024. Which means that voters will need to be on their guard for every one of these dirty tricks, and they’ll need to be prepared to wait on line all day on Election Day that year, and to have someone recording their situation to make sure it isn’t swept under the rug.