PBS NewsHour worries about voter suppression in Georgia, despite record early voting turnout
A PBS panel worried that Georgia’s election laws were suppressing Black votes, after the state had record-high turnout this week in early voting.
On “PBS NewsHour,” host Laura Barrón-López asked guest Cornell Belcher if there was voter suppression going on in Georgia.
“Cornell, you mentioned this earlier, but, as we know, in Georgia and some other states, there are new voting laws taking effect this cycle that Democrats have said amount to voter suppression, targeted specifically at Black voters. So how do you factor that into Democrats’ chances that cycle?” Barrón-López posed.
The Democratic pollster complained that election integrity laws made it “harder to vote,” and thus less people turned out.
“If you keep making it harder to vote, eventually, you’re going to have less people vote. And that’s what you see,” he said.
In the first three days of early voting for the general election, the state far surpassed turnout records for 2018 and neared 2020 presidential levels.
Belcher still claimed Georgia was “ground zero” for suppressing the vote and accused red states of trying to “intimidate” Black voters.
“And, look, Georgia has been ground zero for that. And, look, going back to the last election, and even the last midterm, we saw that African Americans, on average, had longer waits and had more difficulty voting than their White counterparts. And what you see is the state legislatures making it harder, but not only in states like Georgia, but also in states like Florida, where the viral video of the African American who’s being confronted by the elections police, I guess it is, is meant to intimidate,” he stated.
Belcher claimed these efforts would “backfire.”
“And, look, I think it’s going to backfire. I think that Republicans think that they can intimidate and scare African Americans away from exercising their political power I think is going to backfire,” he added.
PBS floating claims of voter suppression stands in contrast to data provided by the Secretary of State.
“Georgia has had record Early Voting turnout since the first day of Early Voting this year, surging to nearly twice the number on the first day of Early Voting in 2018. Yesterday’s total continues to surpass the previous midterm Early Voting records made in the 2018 midterm election, and the cumulative total is only 15,000 votes under the Presidential election cumulative total at this point in 2020,” Brad Raffensperger wrote.
This isn’t the first time this election cycle that Georgia smashed voter turnout records. During the primary election last May, gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams joined MSNBC host Joy Reid to declare that voter suppression was still happening, despite another record-breaking early turnout.
Abrams, however, argued there was “no correlation” between high turnout and people being able to vote in her state.
After Georgia passed an election integrity law in 2021, the media and Democrats claimed it would disenfranchise Black voters and dubbed it “Jim Crow, 2.0.”