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Smearing Election Reforms as ‘Jim Crow’ Insults Black Voters Like Me

As a black woman who grew up in the segregated South, I’m shocked and appalled with the race-baiting from mostly white left-wing politicians who are throwing around the “Jim Crow” label to score political points in the debate over strengthening our voting laws.

To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen’s line from the 1988 vice presidential debate with Dan Quayle: I knew Jim Crow. Jim Crow was no friend of mine. And these commonsense voting laws that states are adopting are no Jim Crow.

Frankly, it’s insulting that politicians are trying to manipulate black folks like me into thinking that voting reforms that actually protect our right to vote are somehow racist. It’s insulting to be lied to, and—yes, I’m going to say it—it seems awfully racist to be thought of as so ignorant and gullible.

These state election reforms are about one thing—making it easier for American citizens to vote, while making it harder for cheaters to cheat.

Yet everyone from President Joe Biden to The New York Times to Coca-Cola and those in Hollywood are labeling voting reforms adopted in Georgia and other states as voter suppression and the new Jim Crow. There’s even a Senate hearing this week being held around this lie called, “Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote.”

Growing up as a black teenager during the 1960s, I knew the tremendous sacrifices and the dangers that my friends and relatives endured to secure the right to vote for black Americans. I myself was part of the civil rights movement when I was thrust into an effort to desegregate my middle school in Richmond, Virginia.

So let me be perfectly clear: I have zero interest in disenfranchising or suppressing the vote of any portion of the population.

But that’s not what’s happening in Georgia or other states pursuing election reforms. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

As we’ve heard from the few truth tellers there are in the media, the new Georgia election reform doesn’t discourage voting or suppress votes. In fact, the availability of absentee ballots and early voting is a lot more robust than what it is in most “blue” states.

And Georgia provides a free voter ID to people without ID and has exceptions that mirror federal law. Turnout in the state as well as studies also show that ID requirements don’t suppress votes; and polling shows that voters, including black voters, agree that voter ID is a commonsense reform. Claims that black people are somehow unable or unwilling to obtain identification are ...