A leftover from yesterday but one that shouldn’t go by the boards. Not only is Biden consistently lying in interviews about what Georgia’s bill does to early-voting hours across the state, Jen Psaki backed up the lie at Thursday’s press briefing. WaPo fact-checker Glenn Kessler is getting exasperated: “It’s hard for any White House to admit error, especially when the president has three times repeated the falsehood,” he tweeted last night. “But this is becoming a pretty deep hole.”
This is more than just not wanting to admit error, though. This is a full-court press by Democrats to demagogue the new law as Jim Crow 2.0 in order to put pressure on the filibuster fans in their own Senate caucus to push H.R. 1 through. Lying to make the law sound worse than it is remains a key part of that strategy.
In fact, lefties were passing this clip around as evidence of Psaki pwning the Fox reporter, either oblivious to the fact that she was distorting what the law says about early voting or complicit in the lie themselves.
Question: Is the tone going to change out of the White House?
Psaki: The tone for a bill that limits voting access and makes it more difficult for people to engage in voting in Georgia? pic.twitter.com/K9LYRwqDXk
— Acyn (@Acyn) April 1, 2021
Psaki wouldn’t correct Biden’s misstatement when asked to do so, honing in on the fact that the new law “standardizes” early voting hours. Business Insider summarized that change a few days ago:
The bill requires early voting from 9 am to 5 pm during the week from Monday to Friday, giving counties the option to open as early as 7 am and close as late as 7 pm. Counties must also hold two Saturdays of early voting from 9 am to 5 pm and have the option to hold early voting on or both of the Sundays during the period.
Previously, Georgia required Monday through Friday voting during “normal business hours,” which were up to each county’s interpretation, and one mandatory Saturday of voting from 9 am to 4 pm.
By replacing the vague term “normal business hours” with a 9-to-5 rule, Georgia’s legislature will likely end up increasing the number of hours polls are open across the state. That’s because polling places in rural areas aren’t always open from 9 to 5 due to being shorthanded on staffing. The state’s now telling them that excuse isn’t good enough to justify closing early; they need eight hours of voting time no matter what. If you’re a Democrat you can complain that that rule change benefits the GOP since the party’s base is rural but you can’t claim that it does something to limit early voting when counties are still free to operate from 7-to-7 if they so choose. Kessler had numbers on that in a recent piece:
During the 2020 election, for instance, vote-rich Fulton County, with a substantial Black population, set early-voting hours at 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on most weekdays and two Saturdays, though the last weekdays had 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. voting hours. Voting was allowed on two Sundays between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Under the new law, Fulton County could set the exact same hours for in-person early voting — or expand them from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.
Psaki’s also wrong when she says that it’s “not possible” to provide water to people who are standing in line. It’s true that random joes aren’t allowed to hand out water within 25 feet of the voting line due to restrictions on electioneering but polling places “can make self-service water receptacles available to voters waiting in line,” per the Dispatch. Hysteria over the law has reached so far that Dem election lawyer Marc Elias resorted to this last night in trying to make a case against it:
The new Georgia law will require voters to submit ID to vote by mail. If they use their driver's license, they need to provide the #.
One of the two numbers below is correct. If they put the other, it will be rejected.
Are you sure you would pick the right one? pic.twitter.com/3yQZAgioLO
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) April 1, 2021
It’s one thing to say that having to apply for ID is a minor hardship to people in registering to vote. It’s another to say that asking people to transcribe the right number on ID they already have is a hardship. One can easily argue that the switch from signature verification to ID numbers will result in more ballots being properly counted since signature checks are subjective and could lead to valid ballots being tossed due to a voter’s signatures not matching closely enough.
You’ll remember Gabriel Sterling, Brad Raffensperger’s deputy, from the “stop the steal” saga last fall. Sterling criticized Trump for questioning the validity of Georgia’s results and defended the integrity of his state’s count at every turn. But he’s reached his wits’ end already with the demagoguery Democrats are directing at the new law. More from the Dispatch:
Sterling—who has been at war with his own party for months over this stuff—sounded exasperated on the phone yesterday. “Look, [Democrats] have found a wonderful fundraising and turnout model based on one particular thing,” he said. “Voter suppression, voter suppression, racist voter suppression. And it works! … It worked in Georgia in 2020, [and] it’s part of the rationale also behind H.R. 1.”…
“I would strongly support them doing that,” Biden said when asked by Sage Steele about Major League Baseball considering moving its annual All-Star game out of Atlanta this summer. “This is Jim Crow on steroids, what they’re doing in Georgia.”
Sterling wasn’t pleased. “I think it’s morally reprehensible and disgusting that he’s perpetuating economic blackmail over a lie,” he told The Dispatch. “It’s a lie. This is no different than the lie of Trump saying there was voter fraud in this state. And the people who are going to be most hurt by [a boycott] are the workers in all of these places that are going to be impacted.”
They’re not going to make Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema buckle on the filibuster unless they make the racial politics around this issue so radioactive that the two feel they have no choice but to bless passage of H.R. 1 with 50 votes. That’s the irony of the messaging effort aimed at Georgia’s law: It’s an attack on Republicans but the target is centrist Democrats. Maybe they can wear down Manchin and Sinema to support a leaner, more focused election-reform bill, as H.R. 1 appears to be a nonstarter.