Voting Made Peachy
Georgia set a voting record for early turnout for Tuesday’s primary election and has already far outpaced the total votes cast in the gubernatorial primary four years ago. The record comes after Georgia passed the Election Integrity Act of 2021, which President Joe Biden described as “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”
Both early votes and total votes are up dramatically. On Saturday, the last day of early voting, the Secretary of State’s office reported record turnout for early voting, a 168% increase over 2018 and a 212% increase over 2020. With counting completed in 152 out of 159 counties for the 2022 primary election, 1,193,719 Georgians voted in the Republican primary for governor (a 196% increase over 2018), and 709,778 Georgians voted in the Democratic primary for governor (a 128% increase), even though Democrat Stacey Abrams ran unopposed. Early voting was also markedly higher among minorities.
Much to the surprise or chagrin of the Left, simply declaring a bill is “voter suppression” doesn’t make it so. “Voting is surging in Georgia despite controversial new election law,” read the Washington Post headline this morning. The Associated Press led with “Georgia primary running smoothly despite new election law.”
There’s no “despite” about it. “The incredible turnout we have seen demonstrates once and for all that Georgia’s Election Integrity Act struck a good balance between the guardrails of access and security,” argued Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. After the 2020 election contained many appearances of impropriety, albeit largely unprovable, Republican lawmakers forged ahead in safeguarding elections by making it “easy to vote, but hard to cheat.” And “wisdom is justified by her deeds” (Matthew 11:19). The early voter turnout “definitely shows that what Democrats were saying about how these new election laws were going to affect voter turnout just isn’t true,” said Washington Examiner reporter Virginia Aabram on “Washington Watch.”
Georgia Republicans predicted the new election security law would effect what actually occurred: “short lines and limited problems. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden claimed the law’s “predictable effect” would be “longer lines at the polls, lines that can last for hours.” He asserted the law would “end voting hours early,” a claim so factually inaccurate the Washington Post awarded it “Four Pinocchios.” Biden suggested the law would make it “harder for you to vote by mail.” But the Washington Post conceded that mail ballots cast comprised a slightly higher percentage (8%) than the last pre-pandemic election (2018). Biden claimed the law would limit “the number of drop boxes and the hours you can use them.” But the law actually made drop boxes, an emergency pandemic measure, permanent, explained National Review’s John Fund.
Democrats insisted Georgia’s election security bill would result in “voter suppression” — that is, fewer voters would have their ballots counted. Republicans insisted the law would do the opposite. The 2022 primary is the first election after the law has taken effect, and the record-setting vote totals (in practically every category) cast considerable doubt on the Democrats’ hypothesis. The process of forming hypotheses and either confirming or disproving them by experiment is known as the scientific method, and this reasonable, realistic practice is the foundation of the credibility “science” enjoys.
But when it comes to elections, it’s unlikely those who insist most loudly that we “follow the science” will take their own advice. Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee for Georgia governor in 2018 and 2022 insisted Tuesday, “we know that increased turnout has nothing to do with suppression.” Abrams still insists that the 2018 election was stolen from her through voter suppression (that is, she contends suppression prevented certain voters from casting ballots for her, which would have increased turnout). If Georgia’s 2022 record primary election turnout doesn’t persuade Abrams that voter suppression is not taking place, nothing will.
Even if Abrams remains incorrigible, hopefully the results will increase the confidence of voters in the integrity of Georgia’s election laws. The Washington Post reported that a 70-year-old, retired, African-American woman, Patsy Reid, “was surprised she didn’t encounter problems when she voted early this month” because she “feared that her vote could be discounted given reports of voter suppression against people of color in Georgia.” “That’s the voice of someone who had been lied to — repeatedly and at great volume,” lamented Rich Lowry.
The Left really did raise a furor over Georgia’s election integrity law last year. President Biden condemned the law in multiple speeches. The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Georgia. Dozens of major corporations condemned the law, including Georgia-based outfits like Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines, and Major League Baseball relocated the All-Star Game from Atlanta. The hysteria was all manufactured over false impressions of the law, such as the supposition that an overwhelmingly popular provision for photo ID was somehow racist.
The Post quotes Reid saying, “To go in there and vote as easily as I did and to be treated with the respect that I knew I deserved as an American citizen — I was really thrown back.” How horrible. Let’s hope, after this round of primary elections, the facts outshine the rhetoric, so that no voter — blue or red, black or white — is discouraged from exercising their right to vote due to lies about election integrity.
Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.