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Rep. Burgess Owens: Comparing Voter ID Laws To Jim Crow Is ‘Disgusting’ And ‘True Racism’

Burgess Owens

“It is disgusting,” Owens said, to compare actual Jim Crow voter suppression “with a state law that only asks that people show their ID.”


Republican Rep. Burgess Owens slammed Democrats and President Joe Biden for comparing Georgia’s newest election law mandating voter ID to Jim Crow laws.

Not only does Owens believe the Democrats’ attempts to mischaracterize voting restrictions are “true racism,” but he also said the “soft bigotry” used by the left downplays his experience “as someone who’s actually experienced Jim Crow laws.”

“President Biden said of the Georgia law, ‘This is Jim Crow on steroids,’” Owens explained in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled “Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote” on Tuesday. “With all due respect, Mr. President, you know better. It is disgusting and offensive to compare the actual voter suppression and violence of that era that we grew up in with a state law that only asks that people show their ID. This is the type of fearmongering I expected in 1960s, not today.”

Owens began his remarks by explaining that when he was just 12 years old, his father allowed him to participate in protests with college students against segregation at the Florida State Theatre.

“I was the youngest participant there,” Owens recalled. “Only 50 years later did I learn that my father parked across the street to watch to make sure I was safe.

Systemic discrimination, Owens explained, wasn’t just limited to the theater. From the time he was young, he experienced segregation based on race in school, bathrooms, gas stations, and at the polls.

“Jim Crow laws like poll tax, property tests, literacy tests, and bias and intimidation at the polls made it nearly impossible for black Americans to vote,” Owens explained.

Owens said Georgia’s new election law, however, does not promote or encourage these same systemic hurdles.

“The section of the Georgia law that has brought so much outrage from the left, it simply requires any person applying for an absentee ballot to include evidence of a government-issued ID on their application. If a voter does not have a driver’s license or ID card, that voter can use a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or any other government document that shows the name and address of this voter. But if voters somehow cannot produce one of these forms of ID, that voter can still vote and cast a vote, provisional ballot,” Owens said.

The Utah Republican also noted that the left’s attempts to hijack the bill and exchange it for a race narrative is “extremely offensive.”

“By the way, 97 percent of Georgia voters already have a government-issued ID,” he said. “What I find extremely offensive is a narrative from the left that black people are not smart enough, not educated enough, not desirous enough of education to do what every other culture and race does in this country: get an ID.”