An outrageous double standard

By ILYA SHAPIRO
Posted 4/12/21

A state recently passed a law limiting early voting to nine days, only requiring some Election Day polling locations to be open during that early process, and limiting mandatory Sunday hours to 10 …

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An outrageous double standard

Posted

A state recently passed a law limiting early voting to nine days, only requiring some Election Day polling locations to be open during that early process, and limiting mandatory Sunday hours to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Did this move generate a groundswell of social-media opposition and boycotts, as politicians and corporations fell over themselves to condemn a renewed Jim Crow? No, because that state is New Jersey.

Nor are there boycotts of New York, which had no early voting at all until last fall, when new rules spurred by the pandemic created nine days of in-person early voting. Or President Biden’s own Delaware, whose new early-voting legislation doesn’t take effect until next year.

Six states still have no provision whatsoever for in-person early voting: Connecticut, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

All of these states, and many others, allow for fewer early-voting opportunities than Georgia, whose recently enacted Election Integrity Act of 2021 mandates that precincts hold at least 17 days of early voting. And yet, after Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced that MLB would move its All-Star Game from Atlanta, he didn’t clean out his Manhattan office.

Instead, voting-justice warriors’ focus remains on the Peach State, whose election reform, after an exceedingly close presidential race and two Senate runoffs marred by competing charges of voter fraud and suppression, aims to improve voter access while strengthening ballot integrity. It’s hardly “Jim Crow on steroids” as Biden told ESPN in calling on MLB to move its midsummer classic, nor does it “effectively deny the right to vote to countless voters,” as he put it in a White House statement.

Indeed, the law actually expands voting access for most Georgians, codifying the new opportunities to vote early and absentee (by mail and drop-off) introduced during the pandemic.

Attempts by progressive activists and Democratic elected officials to tie the new Georgia law to the era of segregation and systemic racial disenfranchisement are thus remarkably dishonest. Even the bizarre attack on the provision purportedly limiting the distribution of water to voters waiting in line is all wet, as detailed by [National Review writer] Dan McLaughlin in comparing similar anti-electioneering rules across multiple states of varying ideological shades.

As for voter identification, the Georgia law simply adds a requirement that voters provide a driver’s-license or state-ID number to apply for a ballot and one of those numbers (or the last four digits of a Social Security number) when returning the ballot.

Indeed, many democratic countries require voter ID of some form, including Canada, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, and Sweden. As do most states with professional baseball teams, for that matter.

The goal, of course, is to preserve and protect our orderly system of democratic decision‐making and therefore the legitimacy of the governance it produces.

Calling laws like Georgia’s “Jim Crow 2.0” is just as dangerous for the confidence the citizenry must have in our electoral processes as spreading myths about illegitimate elections.

Ilya Shapiro is a vice president of the Cato Institute (cato.org) in Washington. The article was edited for length.

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