Across the country, state legislatures are performing their constitutional duty, passing reforms to improve election procedures that worked well this past election, while addressing those that did not.
Yet as these reasonable, non-discriminatory bills are signed into law, mostly by Republican governors, a common pattern has emerged. D.C.-based Democratic Party-aligned lawyers are immediately filing lawsuits to contest the laws using local groups to establish standing.
These baseless lawsuits consist of copy-and-pasted legal briefs used to attack states focused on election integrity across the nation. With no legal leg to stand on, these lawsuits are light on facts and heavy on unsubstantiated, racially charged rhetoric. Even if these lawsuits don’t ultimately win in court, they attack the moral character of those who support these reforms while firing up left-leaning donors to fill leftists’ political coffers.
More importantly, the left’s goal in fighting these commonsense proposals is to institutionalize the unorthodox and less-secure voting procedures used during the height of the COVID challenge and make them the new norm for a post-pandemic America. Such measures include automatic registration of voters, doing away with any kind of verification that voters are who they say they are, all while pushing a massive expansion of mail-in ballots. The result will be elections that are less fair and free, in perception and reality.
Earlier this month, these left-leaning law firms turned their attention toward Georgia. The same day Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the Election Integrity Act of 2021, also known as SB202, the lawsuits began pouring in. As of the end of April, there are at least six, all making nearly identical claims.
Georgians should expect all six lawsuits to fail because the plaintiffs have not shown an unreasonable burden upon Georgian voters caused by SB202 (discriminatory or otherwise), and there is zero evidence of a discriminatory purpose behind the law.
In determining whether new voting reforms enacted by a state are constitutionally permissible, courts weigh the character and magnitude of the burden placed upon voters against the interests put forward by the state as justifications for that burden, taking into consideration “the extent to which those interests make it necessary to burden the plaintiff’s rights.”
In the case of SB202, the burden imposed upon Georgian voters is minimal, with some of the reforms actually reducing the burdens of the last election which, as the plaintiffs admit, saw record turnout. Such reforms include setting a minimum number of hours that polls must be open in advance of elections, adding an additional Saturday to the voting period with option to include Sundays, and reducing wait lines by requiring polling locations to measure wait times and make adjustments if needed.
In SB202, the Georgia General Assembly articulated the precise state interests that the law is designed to address. These include “the lack of elector confidence in the election system on all sides of the political spectrum” while reducing “burden on election officials” and streamlining “the process of conducting elections in Georgia by promoting uniformity in voting.” According to the U.S. and Georgia supreme courts, these are all legitimate state interests that justify reasonable, non-discriminatory burdens on voters, which is exactly what SB202 accomplishes.
While the plaintiffs exhaust themselves unsuccessfully seeking to tie long wait times to racial discrimination, the Georgia legislature took a more logical approach, focusing instead on ways to improve polling location management to reduce the time voters must stand in line.
Long voting lines are a result not of racism, but of poorly managed polling locations. The Georgia General Assembly recognized this and stepped up to address it. With such smart and reasonable reforms as this embedded in SB202, Georgians can expect the efficiency of their elections to continue to improve, and voter participation to continue to rise.
Opponents of the law who are ignorant of its contents have also expressed unbridled outrage at Georgia’s voter ID requirement for absentee vote-by-mail ballots, which has registrars confirm the identity of an absentee voter by comparing identification card numbers rather than signatures. This less subjective approach, combined with the cost and availability of Georgia voter ID cards (they are free and available to all) makes this approach far more sensible and, more importantly, accurate. Yet even if it didn’t, the law also provides alternative forms of identification that can be used if obtaining the free voter ID card proves too difficult.
SB202 is a clear attempt by the Georgia legislature to employ a reasonable set of reforms to keep Georgia elections free and fair. The burdens it imposes are minimal, reasonable, and applied equitably to all Georgia voters.
The left’s legal attack on Georgia’s election law will fail. Its thinly veiled effort to normalize highly irregular and less secure voting practices employed in response to the challenges of COVID must also fail.