Democrats’ widespread narrative that Georgia’s Election Integrity Act of 2021 would cause voter suppression appears to be crumbling after Tuesday’s primary.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R) told Breitbart News in a phone interview Wednesday that Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and President Joe Biden are “a bunch of hypocrites” for having perpetuated the mistruth that the bill would suppress votes, especially votes of racial minorities.
“The Election Integrity Act that we passed, [Abrams] called it Jim Crow 2.0, said it was suppressive, rolled Joe Biden out there to say the same thing,” Kemp said. “Of course, he didn’t realize then, and doesn’t realize now, his own state of Delaware is much more restrictive than our own state is and many other states around the country, and we had massive, record turnout in this last election that we just had.”
Kemp added, “I mean, they’re just a bunch of hypocrites, and people know that, and the national media? It’d be nice if they would actually go after her, but as you know, I doubt they will.”
While municipal elections in Georgia have already occurred since the passage of the state’s sweeping election bill, which Kemp signed into law in March 2021, the primary on Tuesday painted the clearest picture yet of how the bill impacts voting patterns in the state.
Turnout far exceeded Georgia’s primary in 2018, the last midterm primary year. About 1.2 million voters cast ballots in the governor’s primary in 2018, whereas 1.9 million voters cast ballots in the governor’s primary in 2022, according to unofficial results.
Between early in-person voting and absentee voting, total early voting numbers in 2022 shattered those of the 2020 and 2018 primaries. The secretary of state’s office reported that as of May 20, about 857,000 voters had cast ballots, compared to 326,000 through the end of early voting in 2020 and 299,000 through the end of early voting in 2018.
As of May 18, the office reported that 102,056 more black voters had cast early ballots in the 2022 primary than in 2018, which a National Review analysis found was three times higher than the number of black voters casting early ballots in 2018. The outlet noted black voters also make up 2.75 percent more of Georgia’s overall electorate than in 2020.
Moreover, primary election day in Georgia “arrived with short lines and limited problems Tuesday as voters made their voices heard in one of the most politically competitive states in the nation,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Back when Kemp signed the bill, the governor was met with a barrage of fallacious attacks from Democrats like Abrams, Biden, and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), as well as from big-name corporations in the state like Major League Baseball and Coca-Cola, who all broadly accused Kemp of instituting a voting law that was restrictive to the point of suppressive.
Now more than ever, we need federal action to protect voting rights as we continue to fight against these blatantly unconstitutional efforts that are nothing less than Jim Crow 2.0.
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) March 25, 2021
The bill, among its many provisions, tightened voter ID laws for absentee ballots and called for the redistribution of ballot boxes based on voter registration data. Ballot boxes had not been used in Georgia at all prior to 2020 and were installed to accommodate increased mail-in voting as coronavirus was peaking that year. The bill aimed to increase security around the boxes while still allowing them.
Many Democrats, led by Biden, decried the bill’s restriction on solicitation at polling places, saying the bill deprived water to voters having to wait in long lines. That was categorically false as unattended water coolers were permitted at polling places and people were also allowed to bring their own water if they wanted.
Kemp noted the bill “adds days for people to vote on the weekend down here. I mean, it’s just crazy.”
The governor continued, “I think that’s what people are sick of. They’re tired of politicians not being truthful with them. They’re tired of playing these Washington, DC, games with them. They want people to be truthful with them. And that’s the problem with Abrams. She’s out of touch with Georgians. She’s been flying around the country selling her book and wooing these big billionaire donors in California, New York, and they all think she’s a celebrity and a rock star and that’s great. But you know, I’ve been out there talking to parents that wanted their kids in the classroom. I’ve been talking to barbers and cosmetologists and waitresses and restaurant people that are like, you know, ‘Thank you for letting us have the opportunity to survive and to live to fight another day, and because of that, we’re doing great.’”
As for Abrams and others who opposed Kemp’s election bill, they are now facing pressure to address their prior objections to it after seeing the swell of voter turnout.
Abrams’ campaign did not respond to a request for comment from Breitbart News about her past remarks about the bill.
Abrams was however questioned recently on them, according to a clip from the Washington Free Beacon, and the Georgia Democrat responded that suppression and turnout are “correlation without causation,” adding, “We know that increased turnout has nothing to do with suppression. Suppression is about whether or not you make it difficult for voters to access the ballot.”
Major League Baseball, another major critic of the bill, is staying silent on the matter, according to a Fox News report, after the organization boycotted the bill by relocating its 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver.
While the Washington Post admitted this past weekend in a headline, “Voting is surging in Georgia despite controversial new election law,” the outlet appeared to credit the surge to “voting rights groups and Democrats” finding ways to “defiantly” overcome the perceived restrictiveness of the bill:
Voting rights groups and Democrats say they have changed their strategies to mobilize voters under the new rules. In Spalding County, for instance, local activists moved Souls to the Polls to a Saturday, and they defiantly promised that they would work twice as hard if that was what it took to protect voter access.
Kemp responded to that framing, saying, “Anything like that, they’re just spinning that nine ways to Sunday. It’s been incredible, the turnout, and I think it’s going to be the same way in November.”