Sorting fact from fiction in Georgia voting law debate

Ballots by Phil Roeder is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A voting reform bill in Georgia has sparked lawsuits, boycotts, and mass outrage among Democrats, who describe the law as a revival of Jim Crow-era racism. But much of the heated rhetoric surrounding the bill, which Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law on Thursday, misrepresents what the reforms will accomplish.

The debate over whether Georgia’s law constitutes “despicable voter suppression,” as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, has claimed, or necessary updates to the state code is significant. Democrats in Washington have used the specter of the law to push a sweeping federal bill aimed at overhauling all elections. They have even threatened to weaken or end the filibuster in order to pass the bill, known as H.R. 1, to fight what they have characterized as racism in the way states like Georgia want to conduct their elections.

Here are some of the most controversial claims about the law — and what issues state Republicans were aiming to address.

LIMITATIONS ON VOTING HOURS

President Joe Biden claimed during his first press conference last week, and again in a statement the following day, that the law would force polling locations to close at 5 p.m. “so working people can’t cast their vote after their shift is over.”

Ballots by Phil Roeder is licensed under CC BY 2.0