Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a new election law that, among other things, expands early voting and requires an ID for absentee ballots. Democrat activists and many in the mainstream media immediately blasted the bill as racist and threatened to boycott major Georgia-based companies like Delta and Coca-Cola unless they cease doing business in the state.
Multiple news outlets initially falsely claimed that the bill limited voting hours and were forced to issue corrections. This one comes from NBC News: “A previous version of this article misstated a change to Georgia’s early voting hours. Local officials can still extend those hours to 7 p.m. if they choose; counties are not limited to the new standardized hours of 9-5 p.m. They are, however, limited to the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.”
Another common narrative surrounding the election law is that it is akin to old Jim Crow laws, but that’s hyperbolic at best and dangerous at worst. Yet news outlets including The Guardian, NBC News and Newsweek parroted these narratives without any sort of fact check or clarification.
Calling the new Georgia voter law the “new Jim Crow” or Biden’s preferred language “Jim Crow on steroids” is not only misleading, but it undermines the significance of just how terrible Jim Crow laws really were. Requiring citizens to provide a form of ID to request an absentee ballot is not the same thing as a racial caste system that relegated Black Americans to the status of second-class citizens.
People are required to provide ID in order to do all sorts of things in America. You must show ID to obtain a library card or fly on the plane, which makes Delta’s criticism of the bill somewhat ironic. Interestingly, CNN is also headquartered in Atlanta, but it remains to be seen whether activists will call to boycott them in protest.