Election integrity

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For elections to work, we all need to trust the results — both the winner and loser. Former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III has pointed out that the winner of an election can always be persuaded they won in a fair and honest election. The challenge, he said, is to have an election — especially a very close election — in which the losing candidate, and their supporters, believe the election to have been fair and honest even though they did not win.

In recent elections, that has become more difficult as both Republicans and Democrats contest them.

The Republican-controlled legislature in Georgia passed a bill in March to help with election integrity. Democrats immediately attacked it.

“What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is,” President Joe Biden said about the Georgia law. “It’s sick. It’s sick … deciding that you’re going to end voting at five o’clock when working people are just getting off work.”

The Washington Post fact-checker gave Biden a rating of “Four Pinocchios” for that statement. A nice way of saying he lied.

Democrat Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also lied when he said, “Republicans recently passed a bill to eliminate early voting on Sunday.”

Stacey Abrams, a Georgia Democrat activist, calls the law “racist” and “Jim Crow in a suit and tie.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms lied in a Democratic fundraising email, claiming the new Georgia elections law passed by Republicans barred voters from accepting water in line at the polls.

Mainly because of these lies, Major League Baseball moved this year’s All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver, Colorado.

Here are the facts about the Georgia election law.

• The law allows counties to set early voting hours anywhere between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., as was the case previously. The new law sets a minimum time for early voting, saying “voting shall be conducted beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m.” instead of “during normal business hours,” a vague line in the old law.

• The new law offers more opportunities for early voting in most of Georgia’s counties — at least 17 days. The bill requires counties to have a minimum of two Saturdays of early voting and allows for two days of early Sunday voting. Previously, Georgia law only required one Saturday of early voting.

• Poll workers are still allowed to give away water. The law — a standard practice in most states — makes it an offense for anyone else to give away election material, food or water within 150 feet of a polling place or 25 feet of any voter line. In other words, it stops politicians from buying votes.

• The new law now requires voter identification for mail-in voting, using the same forms of ID needed to vote in person. This makes postal voting more secure and trustworthy. The language on voter IDs for Georgia absentee ballots is identical to the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002. It passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 92-2. Voting yes on that bill was none-other than then-Senator Joe Biden of Delaware.

• This law now makes secure voter drop boxes legal for all elections in the Peach state — something put in place without legislature approval for the 2020 Presidential election due to COVID-19. To make them secure, they must be located inside the clerk’s office or inside a voting location, only accessible during early voting hours.

• Only state government officials will be able to send absentee ballots to voters who can request them up to 78 days before an election — as opposed to 180 days.

• To address long wait times, the law requires any precinct that kept voters waiting in line for over an hour to create an additional precinct or add more resources for the next election, another measure making it easier to vote.

• Under the new law, election workers will not be able to stop counting ballots once they’ve started.

• The new Georgia state board of elections chair is prohibited from actively participating in a political party or organization, donating to a political campaign, or running for public office during their service and in the two years preceding the term as chair.

The Republican party in Georgia — and many other states — is trying to improve election integrity by ensuring that all votes are legitimately cast.

The question is, why do Democrats continually attack laws that try to bring back integrity and trust in our elections?

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