So the actual evidence should lead to a conclusion about voting integrity laws or voter suppression laws, the appropriate term depending on your viewpoint.
As we remember, there was a great uproar and cry when the state of Georgia passed a law last year that tightened controls and requirements for voting in the state, including such things as requiring identification. Democratic candidate for Governor Stacy Abrams led the outcry. President Biden compared the new law to the racist Jim Crow laws of the past and said it was solely designed to suppress minority voting. Companies and sports leagues jumped in. Major League Baseball moved the all-star game from Atlanta to protest and a number of companies, including Coca-Cola which is headquartered in Atlanta, officially and publically criticized the law.
Last week was the first election in Georgia held under the new law. So what happened?
Comparing this year’s mid-term primary election to the last mid-term primary election in 2018, minority early voting was up—a lot. Over 100,000 more Blacks cast early ballots than in 2018, and the total was roughly three times more than 2018. When looking at the overall vote, Blacks made up 2.75% more of the total electorate this year, meaning that not only the total numbers but the proportion of Blacks voting went up.
Those are hardly the results you would expect if the law was “Jim Crow” and designed to decrease minority voting.
The above figures are for early voting, and the actual overall results are not yet in. Yet it seems clear that the law had no suppressive effect on Black voting. For all of the outrage and grandstanding, the actual evidence says all of that was hype and overblown. The Georgia law did not keep Blacks from voting in higher numbers and actually increased their proportion of the overall early vote totals. So will actual evidence settle the argument? Will Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball say they were wrong and apologize to the people of Georgia? Hold your breath.