The Heritage Foundation released a fact check Friday of some of the most egregious lies being echoed by members of Congress, the media, Hollywood, and corporate America about the new election integrity reform in Georgia. These reforms are about one thing—making it easier for American citizens to vote, while making it harder to cheat.
Myth 1: The Georgia election law discourages voting/suppresses votes.
The Truth: Jason Snead, executive director of the Honest Elections Project, said, “Overall, the Georgia law is pretty much in the mainstream and is not regressive or restrictive. The availability of absentee ballots and early voting is a lot more progressive than what’s in the blue states.” The Heritage Foundation recently validated this statement by comparing Georgia’s law to other states’.
Despite President Joe Biden’s and others' false claim that the time period for voting would be restricted, it is not the case that voting must finish at 5 p.m. Counties can set hours anywhere between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (see line 1446-1447 of the law).
- Biden: “What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is. It’s sick. It’s sick…deciding that you’re going to end voting at 5 o’clock when working people are just getting off work.”
- The New York Times: “The most extensive restriction of voting access in generations” and a “breathtaking assertion of partisan power in elections.”
- Coke: “Throughout Georgia’s legislative session we provided feedback to members of both legislative chambers and political parties, opposing measures in the bills that would diminish or deter access to voting…additionally, our focus is now on supporting federal legislation that protects voting access and addresses voter suppression across the country.”
- Patagonia: “Our democracy is under attack by a new wave of Jim Crow bills that seek to restrict the right to vote. It is urgent that businesses across the country take a stand—and use their brands as a force for good in support of our democracy.”
- Delta: “However, I need to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values…after having time to now fully understand all that is in the bill, coupled with discussions with leaders and employees in the black community, it’s evident that the bill includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives. That is wrong.”
- Mailchimp: “SB202 undermines free and fair elections in our home state of Georgia, and will make it harder for people to exercise their right to vote, especially people of color. Georgians deserve better.”
Myth 2: The Georgia law eliminates voting opportunities in order to suppress African American votes.
The Truth: The law makes no distinctions based on race. Comparisons to Jim Crow laws—which included segregation, poll taxes, grandfather clauses, and literacy tests—are historically ignorant and diminish the suffering caused by such laws.
Despite the liberal lie that the law ends early voting on Sundays, the bill allows for early voting on Sundays (see beginning of line 83 of the law).
- Biden: “This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle. I mean, this is gigantic what they’re trying to do, and it cannot be sustained.”
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: “Republicans recently passed a bill to eliminate early voting on Sunday—a day when many church-going African Americans participate in voter drives known as Souls to the Polls.”
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “The Republican who is sitting in Stacey Abrams’ chair just signed a despicable voter suppression bill into law to take Georgia back to Jim Crow.”
- Democrat activist and failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams: “These are (new) laws that respond to an increase in voting by people of color by constricting, removing, or otherwise harming their ability to access these perquisites. It doesn’t say brown and black people can’t vote. It simply says we’re going to remove things that we saw you use to your benefit; we’re going to make it harder for you to access these opportunities.”
- Democrat lawyer Marc Elias: “These laws are all aimed at disenfranchising black voters and also young voters.”
Myth 3: The Georgia election law suppresses the vote with onerous voter ID requirements.
The Truth: The Georgia law’s voter ID language is not onerous, and makes exceptions for people without ID to provide their Social Security number (line 1244 of the law). Furthermore, ID requirements do not suppress voters, as studies have shown. Claims that African Americans are unable or unwilling to obtain identification are insulting and have no factual basis.
- Facebook: “We support making voting as accessible and broad-based as possible and oppose efforts to make it harder for people to vote.”
- Google: “We’ve long created tools and resources to make it easier for people to vote. But knowing how to vote depends on people being able to vote. We’re concerned about efforts to restrict voting at a local level…”
- Former ESPN personality Jemele Hill: “The new election bill in Georgia is not about showing ID to vote. Republicans are salty the state went blue, and they resent that their power was taken away by black voters. They want a rigged game because they’re too lazy to come up with a new vision and compete for votes.”
- Liberal pundit Judd Legum: “Georgia’s new law imposes a new ID requirement to return an absentee ballot. There is no reason to do this other than [former President Donald] Trump’s lies.”
Myth 4: The bill bans access to water for voters while waiting in line.
The Truth: The law allows for self-service water from an unattended receptacle (see line 1828 of the law). The law protects voters from political solicitation within 150 feet of a voting building (see line 1818 of the law). Voters are of course allowed to bring water with them.
- Biden: “It’s an atrocity…you don’t need anything else to know that this is nothing but punitive design to keep people from voting. You can’t provide water for people about to vote? Give me a break.”
- James Carville: “It is going to be illegal to give somebody that’s standing in line to vote. I have never heard of water being an illegal substance in the United States.”
- Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics: “Georgia’s bill would make it a crime to give free food or water to voters standing in line for hours and hours. But we know who these politicians force to stand in line all day long. I’ve never once stood in line for even five minutes where I get to vote. This racism is thorough.”
Mike Howell is The Heritage Foundation's senior adviser for executive branch relations. A lawyer, he has worked in the Department of Homeland Security's general counsel's office and, before that, for the House and Senate's chief oversight committees.
Editor's Note: This piece originally appeared on The Daily Signal.