Gabriel Sterling, the chief operating officer and chief financial officer for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, published an op-ed Wednesday, calling out President Joe Biden’s lies on Georgia’s voter integrity bill.
Sterling said he made the prediction months ago, “Someone is going to get hurt,” when talking about the misinformation regarding the 2020 election. He said, “I was horrified to see it come true on Jan. 6.”
He claims to be worried again following the reaction to the new election laws in Georgia. “Though I have not received any threats yet, thankfully, that same foreboding is creeping up again as the president of the United States and others once again spread lies about what is going on in Georgia,” he said.
Sterling calls on Biden to stop spreading the lies, saying, “Someone is going to get hurt. Your words matter. The facts matter.”
Sterling said, after the last election, multiple people, including himself and his boss, “received death threats because we would not bend to pressure from one president to alter the outcome of the election. It is disappointing to see the new president engage in similarly dangerous hyperbole.”
The Post has correctly noted, as did Sterling, Georgia’s “new legislation does not decrease early voting hours, though President Biden falsely claimed otherwise.”
Sterling pointed out that the “early voting hours were expanded by adding an extra mandatory Saturday of early voting and continuing to allow Sunday voting.”
He included that “early voting hours must be open from at least 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.,” which he claims to be “a step up from the ‘normal business hours’ required by previous law.” The new law even allows counties to “extend those hours to 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., as many have done in the past.”
Sterling pointed out the president last month alleged the bill “makes it a crime to provide water to voters while they wait in line.” He added that “providing gifts of any value to voters to reward them for casting a ballot has been illegal in Georgia for years.” He even mentioned that in the president’s own state, there is an already existing law that is similar to Georgia’s.
Sterling continued to explain why the president is wrong for spreading false information:
The president has also said that adding a photo ID number requirement to absentee ballots “adds rigid restrictions . . . that will effectively deny the right to vote to countless voters.” Leaving aside that majorities of Black voters and Georgia Democrats support the added security measure, studies show that photo ID laws don’t decrease turnout.
In an ironic twist, Democrats who now decry adding photo ID numbers sued to get rid of the signature match process for absentee ballots last year, arguing it was subjective. Photo ID numbers are as objective as it comes. They are also widely available. Ninety-seven percent of Georgia voters have a driver’s license or a free state voter ID. Almost all have a Social Security number, the last four digits of which can now be used to cast an absentee ballot thanks to the new law.
Another wild allegation is that changes to the State Election Board allow the legislature to overturn elections. That is false. There is nothing in the bill that allows that and nothing within the Georgia code that gives the election board, let alone the legislature, the power to overturn an election. The law allows the board to remove top elections officials of poorly performing counties after a lengthy review and appeal process. That can be used for elections officials who chronically fail to address long lines, lose absentee ballot applications or mismanage the process overall.
Sterling said, “The law removes the secretary of state, an accountable representative of the people of Georgia, from the election board and replaces him with an unaccountable appointee of the legislature or governor, but makes it clear: “This isn’t voter suppression.”
Democrats have clearly realized this is a potential fundraising tactic regardless of the impact on voter confidence,” he wrote, adding the president has maintained numerous times, “This is Jim Crow in the 21st century.”
He wonders why a law that has been championed by election experts saying the law “expands voting access to all Georgians” could be compared to something like Jim Crow, which was “historical effort to disenfranchise and oppress black Americans.”
Sterling said the law is written differently than he would have had it written, but the law “is not what President Biden claims.” He added that everyone should “turn down the rhetoric” no matter what side you’re on, “let’s tell the truth,” and “let’s make elections boring again.”