Dating back to the Colonial era, the democratic system of government has been a fundamental part of American life. America has experienced wars, economic crises, scandals, election controversies, significant societal changes and periods of turmoil, yet the fundamentals of our democratic system have withstood the test of time.
According to President Biden's recent speech in Atlanta, however, we are in a "consequential moment in history" because the future of democracy itself—both in the United States and worldwide—is in grave danger. The President asked his supporters, "Will we choose democracy over autocracy, light over shadows, justice over injustice? Do you want to be . . . on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?"
What, exactly, is the serious, evil threat to American law and society that the President was talking about? A foreign superpower threatening military action? A planned cyberattack on important American institutions? A domestic hate group working to invalidate the Constitution or to reinstate slavery or segregation?
The answer is none of the above. According to the President, the election reforms enacted by Georgia's legislature last year impose "Jim Crow 2.0" through voter suppression and election subversion, and threaten "democracy's threshold liberty." This is an outrageous lie.
A recent Wall Street Journal editorial noted that "[t]he President's speech on voting rights is divorced from reality," and called his comparison between support for Georgia's election integrity measures and support for segregation, slavery and the Confederacy complete "nonsense." That is putting it mildly. As the article explained, it is easier to vote in Georgia than in many Left-run states: Georgia residents "can request a mail ballot without giving an excuse, unlike in New York or Delaware. . . . [B]lack voter turnout in Georgia [in 2020] was 64%, compared with Massachusetts's 36%."
The President making inflammatory, false claims about Georgia's law is not a recent development. Last year, The Washington Post gave President Biden a "Four Pinocchios" rating for his false statement that the Georgia statute "ends voting hours early" and cuts off voting at 5 p.m. Contrary to this claim, "experts say the net effect of the new early-voting rules was to expand the opportunities to vote for most Georgians, not limit them."
Last summer, the Biden Administration sued Georgia to challenge certain provisions of the law, such as a ban on government entities mailing unsolicited absentee ballot applications, modifications of the identification requirements, timeframes for applying for absentee ballots and regulations of the use of absentee ballot drop boxes. The ACLJ, on behalf of our supporters and 57 members of Congress, filed an amicus brief that emphasized the substantial constitutional authority of the states to protect the integrity of their elections. The brief highlighted many court decisions that have recognized that "there must be a substantial regulation of elections if they are to be fair and honest and if some sort of order, rather than chaos, is to accompany the democratic processes."
To read the entire article, please visit American Center for Law and Justice website.
Erik Zimmerman serves as Senior Litigation Counsel with the ACLJ.
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