Published March 30, 2021
Democrats have been tarnishing Georgia’s new voting law, saying it represents a return to Jim Crow. That calumny besmirches an effort that largely succeeds at balancing extensive voter access with strong election integrity.
Jim Crow was a heinous system that systematically denied Black Americans — and many poor Whites — their constitutional right to vote through bogus “literacy tests,” poll taxes and other measures such as “Whites only” Democratic primaries in states where Democrats were sure to win. Backed by racist law enforcement and threats of violence or lynching by the Ku Klux Klan and similar groups, even Black people who were able to vote often chose not to. It took the civil rights revolution, and especially the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to undo this system.
The new Georgia law does nothing to return the state to this terrible time. Black voters will still be able to register without hindrance. And they, like all other Georgians, will be able to vote in many different ways: on Election Day, in-person before Election Day, or by mail without an excuse if they are 65 or older.
Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.