At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday titled “Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote,” lawmakers debated Georgia’s new election integrity law.
In case you aren’t familiar, the new law requires voters to present identification when submitting absentee ballots, codifies ballot drop boxes and expands weekend voting.
To no surprise, however, team-left dubbed the bill “racist” and joined together to cancel the entire state of Georgia.They even went as far as to label the law a modern “Jim Crow” measure.
Here are four main takeaways from the hearing, as reported by the Daily Signal.
1. Rep. Burgess Owens, a black republican, discussed living during the Jim Crow era, at which point state and local laws shut blacks out of elections entirely, along with employment, housing and education opportunities.
Comparing the law to such measures is “absolutely outrageous,” he said.
“True racism is this, the projection of the democratic party on my proud race. It’s called the soft bigotry of low expectations,” he said.
“What I find extremely offensive is the narrative from the left that black people are not smart enough, not educated enough, not desirous enough of an education, to do what every other culture and race does in this country: get an ID,” he added.
2. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah tried to educate the group on the legacy of Jim Crow, but Senate Judiciary Chairman Richard Durbin wanted no part of it.
Lee noted that during post-Civil War Reconstruction, many republican black members of Congress were elected in the South. But, after federal troops withdrew from the South, democrat-controlled state governments established Jim Crow laws to prevent blacks from voting.
“This was a system of laws designed to hold black Americans back, hold them back in part because white democrats in the South didn’t want them to vote and didn’t like the fact that they were voting as and being elected as republicans,” Lee said. “Let’s not compare a voter registration law – one that makes sure dead people can’t vote – to that.”
Durbin fired back.
“I will concede the era of Jim Crow in the South was propagated primarily by democrats – southern democrats and segregationists,” he said. “Political alignment changed in America starting in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and republicans became more dominant in those states for the most part. What we have today is the party of Lincoln is refusing to join us in expanding the Voting Rights Act.”
3. Because it’s a conversation on race, of course Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock had to chime in.
Warnock expressed strong discontent with the new law.
“This is a full fledged assault on voting rights, unlike anything we’ve seen since the era of Jim Crow,” he said. “The truth is, politicians – in their craving and lust for power – are willing to sacrifice our democracy by using the ‘big lie’ as a pretext for their true aim: some people don’t want some people to vote,” he added.
4. Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham cited a 2005 report, which determined that voter fraud wasn’t widespread, but did exist and could affect the outcome of close elections.
“Absentee ballots remain the largest source of voter fraud. That’s what the Carter-Baker Commission said, not me,” Graham said. “The Carter-Baker report recommended prohibiting third-party organizations, candidates, and political party activists from handling absentee ballots. That’s related to ballot harvesting.”
“My questions for Ms. Abrams: Do you support voter identification laws?” Graham asked Stacy Abrams.
“Yes,” Abrams said. “There are 35 states in the United States that have had voter identification laws. In fact, every state requires some form of identification. What I have objected to is restrictive identification.”
Graham then asked: “Do you support the idea that voting should be limited to American citizens?”
“Yes,” Abrams responded.
Graham asked: “Do you support ballot harvesting? Are you familiar with that term?”
Abrams replied that perhaps at Native American reservations it is necessary for tribal elders to gather ballots.
When Graham asked about other circumstances, she said: “It depends on the situation.”
Later in the hearing, Sen. Ted Cruz brought up that Abrams has previously said the 2018 governor’s race was stolen from her, and wanted to know if she still held that view.
Abrams responded that Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, won under the rules in place, with caveats.
After some back and forth, Cruz asked: “Yes or no, do you still maintain the 2018 election was stolen?”
“It was stolen from the voters of Georgia,” Abrams said. “We do not know what they would have done because not every eligible Georgian was permitted to participate fully in the election.”