Over the past several days I’ve tried to learn everything about the new “sweeping” Georgia election law, called Jim Crow by some Democrats and an expansion of voting rights by some Republicans.
As usual, the truth lies between.
The best overview of the new law was in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but I got locked out after a few views and before I finished my research.
So I will write about the aspect most singled out by journalists, usually described as banning serving water, drinks or snacks to anyone waiting in line to vote.
Why would they do that?, a reasonable person would ask.
“It’s racist!,” an unreasonable person would reply, but I will get back to that.
The “reasoning” behind the bill is not to prevent voters from eating or drinking, but to prevent electioneering on the part of the server.
Most jurisdictions prohibit electioneering near the polls.
In Philly, the only time I was offered a snack was in 2008, when I was standing in an usually long line to vote for Barack Obama. His volunteers were offering water and snacks. They were wearing Obama T-shirts, but they were more than 50 feet from the polls.
Let me ask you something. Would someone there to vote for John McCain have changed his vote because an Obama operative handed him a Famous Amos cookie?
The notion is ridiculous.
But OK — free snacks have been banned.
How is it racist?
You have to follow the bouncing ball. Long lines are more likely to happen in Black neighborhoods, it is said, where people might get too hungry to stand in line and would leave without voting.
That’s the argument. You can buy it, or reject it.
It for sure is not the most important change to the law, but it was the easiest for most of the media to deal with.
Perhaps I will be able to get accurate information on other aspects of the law in the future.