Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an Administrative Order on Tuesday that pushes back against Georgia’s new election integrity law.
Mayor Bottoms’ order states that the election integrity measures signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp make changes that “include empowering officials to take over local election boards, limiting the use of ballot drop boxes, and imposing new voter identification requirements and limitations for the use of absentee ballots.”
The mayor also argues that these “voting restrictions will disproportionately impact residents in cities and counties with high density populations, including the City of Atlanta, and will impose barriers to their ability to vote.”
Two contentious aspects of the Georgia election integrity law are the use of ballot “drop boxes” and unsolicitied mail-in ballots.
The funding of drop-boxes by private interests, such as the partisan Southern Poverty Law Center and the Zuckerberg-funded Center for Tech and Civic Life, was a boon for Democrat counties that voted heavily for Joe Biden. As the Federalist reveals, an incomplete analysis of the CTCL’s activities (a fuller picture will emerge once its IRS-reported expenditures are reported) show that the group funded Democrat-heavy counties:
- Nine out of ten of CTCL’s largest known grants went to counties Joe Biden won.
- Of the ten counties with the greatest shifts to the Democratic presidential candidate (comparing 2016 to 2020 votes), nine received CTCL grants.
- These nine grantees averaged a 13.7 percent shift toward the Democrat. Two, Cobb and Gwinnett, were among the four counties that delivered Biden the most votes.
- A Biden county was more than two-and-a-half times more likely to receive funding [than a Trump county].
- CTCL funded all four counties that provided Biden 100,000 or more votes.
In December, it was revealed that Fulton County received millions from the Zuckerberg-funded CTLC without public debate.
“The Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted to accept a $6.3 million grant from the Mark-Zuckerberg funded Center for Technology and Civic Life ‘Safe Elections’ project at a September 2, 2020 board meeting,” noted Breitbart News. “It proceeded without asking a single question about the name of the group providing the funding, the origin of the funding, or the details of what the funding would be used for.”
There are other issues with drop boxes, such as non-compliance with chain-0f-custody laws, which defy characterization of the voting devices as consistent with “safe elections.”
“State and county officials in Georgia have failed to produce chain of custody documents for an estimated 404,691 vote by mail absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes and subsequently delivered to county registrars for counting,” investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson reported in mid-March.
Thus, Mayor Bottoms’ order suggests that Atlanta wants special treatment for its elections, particularly by protecting the legally dubious use of “drop boxes” and ensuring that absentee ballots could be mass-mailed to residents, farmed out to activist groups, and tabulated without traceable identification.
This raises questions about the mayor’s motives behind contesting “restrictions” that are indeed designed to ensure that only eligible state residents vote in elections. There are other questionable aspects of the Democratic Party’s protest of the Georgia election integrity law.
Multiple studies show that voter ID does not suppress registration or turnout; voter IDs in Georgia are free to those who qualify; more than 98% of adult Georgians already have voter IDs; a social security number or driver’s license number is all that is needed to vote absentee; water is allowed in voter lines (but food and water cannot be given out by electioneers, as in most states); and the Georgia law expands access to voting for most residents.
The Georgia law has been characterized as “Jim Crow 2.0” by several critics in the Democratic Party, such as former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has slammed such characterizations.
“There is nothing ‘Jim Crow’ about requiring a photo or state-issued ID to vote by absentee ballot – every Georgia voter must already do so when voting in-person,” Kemp said in a statement to The Hill.
“President Biden, the left, and the national media are determined to destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box,” Kemp said, adding, “It is obvious that neither President Biden nor his handlers have actually read” the Georgia law.
Over 200 corporate CEOs have spoken out against states passing new election integrity laws, such as Georgia and Texas. There are 35 states that already have some form of voter ID laws. Major League Baseball, in particular, pulled the All-Star Game from Atlanta, costing deep blue urban areas like Cobb County an estimated $100 million in tourist revenue.
The location for the MLB All-Star Game in 2021 is reported to be Colorado, which in several ways has stricter election laws than Georgia. Colorado has voter ID to vote in person, requires signature verification for mail-in ballots (unlike Georgia, which requires last four of Social Security number or driver’s license number), and a shorter window for early in-person voting: Georgia has 17 days of in-person early voting, including two optional Sundays, while Colorado has 15 days. It also has a ban on food and water being given away by electioneers to voters that is similar to the one Georgia has.
President Biden, however, said on Tuesday that moving the Master’s is up to those who run the prestigious golf tournament.
“I think that’s up to the Masters,” Biden said. “Look, you know, it is reassuring to see that for profit operations and businesses are speaking up about how these new Jim Crow laws are just antithetical to who we are.”
Former President Trump on Tuesday night also blasted the Georgia election integrity law — but for being too weak.
“Georgia’s election reform law is far too weak and soft to ensure real ballot integrity!” Trump said. “Election Day is supposed to be Election Day, not Election Week or Election Month.”
“Far too many days are given to vote,” he continued. “Too much ‘mischief’ can happen during this very long period of time. You saw that in the 2020 Presidential Election. How’s Ruby Freeman doing?” he added.
“Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State should have eliminated no-excuse, widespread mass Mail-in Voting, gotten rid of the dangerous and unsecure Drop-Boxes, and should have kept and EXPANDED Signature Verification to do matches against the historical voter file, among other things! Hope the RINOs are happy,” he continued.
The U.S. Constitution states clearly that only state legislatures have the authority to make changes to state election laws. Mayor Bottoms’ defiance of the U.S. Constitution by attempting to pass her own election rules for partisan gain should not be permitted to stand.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.