On Friday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the Justice Department is suing Georgia over its new election law. The Department claims the law was adopted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race. In its press release announcing the filing of United States v. Georgia, the Justice Department focuses on some of the provisions of the Georgia law:
- A provision banning government entities from distributing unsolicited absentee ballot applications.
- The imposition of costly and onerous fines on civic organizations, churches and advocacy groups that distribute follow-up absentee ballot applications.
- The shortening of the deadline to request absentee ballots to 11 days before Election Day. •
- The requirement that voters who do not have identification issued by the Georgia Department of Driver Services photocopy another form of identification in order to request an absentee ballot without allowing for use of the last four digits of a social security number for such applications.
- Significant limitations on counties’ use of absentee ballot drop boxes.
- The prohibition on efforts by churches and civic groups to provide food or water to persons waiting in long lines to vote.
- The prohibition on counting out-of-precinct provisional ballots cast before 5 p.m. on Election Day
Democrats are obsessed about the mostly modest changes (some of which are quite good) Republican-controlled state legislators are making to voting procedures. While these changes are motivated by Trump's Big Lie about a stolen election, at the end of the day they are unlikely to have any impact on turnout, including among minorities. However, the impression these changes are intended as "voter suppression" is likely to energize Democratic turnout.
|Attorney General Merrick Garland|
Elections involve two distinct events: the casting of ballots by voters and the counting of those ballots by election officials. While Democrats are obsessed about the former, Republicans are changing the rules regarding the latter. Republican state legislators are introducing and passing laws changing how those ballots are to be counted, including allowing (GOP) state officials to seize control of vote counting from (Democratic) local officials. In some cases, Republican-dominated state legislatures are angling to give themselves a veto over state presidential popular vote results which don't go their way.
But it is not just changes in the law regarding the counting of those votes. It is also changes in the personnel that will be counting the ballots. Donald Trump lost in 2020 because there were a number of local and state Republican officials in states like Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nevada who insisted on counting the votes honestly. They refused to buckle to pressure and award the election in their states to Trump when the votes said otherwise. Those folks have been targeted by Trumpers as "traitors" and are being systematically replaced by people who are not committed to honest vote counting or American democracy.
In analyzing Trump's Big Lie, the assumption is always that Trump was convinced he would win at the ballot box, and when he lost, it could only have been because of fraud. I don't buy that. Not even Trump could have been blind to polls which all showed him losing. At no point in the race did Trump lead in the contest against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Trump was not relying on the American people to give him a second term. He was relying on the GOP state and local vote counters. Because honesty and morality are foreign concepts to Trump, he just assumed those Republican officials would be willing to put their finger on the scale in the swing states Trump desperately needed to defeat Biden. Or if those vote counters would not, surely GOP-dominated state legislatures would intervene and hand him the election. If that fell through, there was always Congress which has to count the electoral votes or Vice-President Pence who was charged with overseeing that count. Trump was certain he was going to win the election not because American people voted for him, but because of the well-positioned Republican officials Trump assumed were corruptible.
While I have yet to see the Complaint filed by the Justice Department, I have doubts there is a good legal theory to overturn the Georgia law. The claim of a discriminatory effect seems to be a reach. But the worst thing about the lawsuit is that it contributes to the Democratic delusion of focusing on the casting of votes when the Democrats should be focused on the counting of those votes.
OOP's short takes:
- It is already being claimed software anti-virus founder John McAfee's death in jail was not a suicide. Also, the Florida condominium collapse that apparently has killed scores of people was a planned demolition by the government! You can learn so much from Twitter.
- Not sure if I predicted this yet, so I will do so now. You know how ransomware targets big companies and government to shake them down for millions of dollars, usually paid in cryptocurrency? As those companies and government spend a small fortune to beef up their computer security, the cyber criminals are going to turn to soft targets - small businesses and individuals. While they will get less money from those soft targets, they will make up for that with an increase in ransom targets.