Georgia politicians have some explaining to do
Last week the Georgia State Legislature presented Governor Kemp with Law SB 202, a 98-page bill with new election regulations, which he signed. This law creates new guidance on mail-in ballots, voter identification and other election requirements. Overall, this law is a positive step towards more secure elections. Unfortunately, some of the measures included in the law are negative and generated a nationwide outroar.
This public backlash erupted because neither the Georgia State Legislature nor Governor Kemp has adequately explained why they chose to implement these laws. The main response provided by Kemp was the following: “Significant reforms to our state elections were needed. There’s no doubt there were many alarming issues with how the election was handled, and those problems, understandably, led to a crisis of confidence in the ballot box here in Georgia.”
There are several problems with this statement. On the one hand, it perpetuates a claim made by former president Donald Trump and his allies, who continually declared there had been election fraud in battleground states. These claims were repeatedly struck down in court and debunked by election officials. On the other hand, Kemp’s statement doesn’t address any of the issues that people across the nation have been complaining about.
Many people have criticized two specific measures of the bill: county election official interference and the no food or water rule. Although many of the other provisions in the bill have been viewed as neutral or positive, the aforementioned measures have deeply concerned a large number of Americans, particularly the African-American and Hispanic communities. This bill has gotten so much coverage, ABC got a comment from President Joe Biden calling the law, “A return to Jim Crow.”
Up until this point, there hasn’t been a very coherent response from the Georgian lawmakers to address any of these concerns. Instead, Kemp and his fellow Republicans have strongly stood by and defended their law against what they consider an unfair attack by the liberal media. Kemp even went so far as to say that the decision made by Major League Baseball to take the All-Star Game and its draft out of the state this year in response to the new voting law, was based on “fear and lies from liberal activists.”
The politicians from Georgia have taken a very confrontational approach to almost anyone who has questioned the law. This is not in their best interest. Especially when you consider the number of corporations who have already started to use their financial clout to show their displeasure. Coca-Cola, Delta Air and the MLB are just a few that have started to take action against Georgia as a state.
As politicians, it is their job to serve the people and explain their choices when asked about them. There has been a very toxic brand of politics, being played by both sides of the spectrum for a while. If these politicians would have been courteous and taken the time to explain the law in a way that people could understand, these changes would not have been demonized as much as they have. The politicians from Georgia never had control over the story and it has continued to spiral, with new articles written about it every day. These articles are overwhelmingly negative. Oddly enough, when you fact-check what the bill actually does, it’s not as bad as it’s made out to be.
A fact-checking article published by CNN, pointed out that a lot of information being shared about the bill was misleading. Unfortunately, the politicians from Georgia didn’t even take the time to fact-check erroneous statements. Had they been more proactive about justifying the bill and answering questions, the situation wouldn’t have escalated as much as it did.
By Garrett Keller
Garrett was born in Porterville, California, where he grew up on his family's farm. Garrett currently resides in San Diego. He is a third-year Journalism Media Studies major with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Interdisciplinary Studies. Garrett hopes to move to Hawaii after graduating, where he will help his family start a new farm and hopefully land a PR job on the big island.