“The Story” host Martha MacCallum pushed back Thursday on claims from Democrats that the new election law passed in Georgia is racist or actively disenfranchises voters.
The law, signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp this week, requires voters to present identification to request and/or file an absentee ballot, replacing the signature matching processes.
It also requires ballot drop boxes in each county, while mandating they are physically secure, and stiffens penalties on electioneering at polling stations — the subsection of the bill decried as preventing voters in line from being given water.
President Biden called the law “Jim Crow on steroids,” a sentiment echoed by liberal commentator Richard Fowler on “The Story.”
Fowler told MacCallum he agrees with some of the bill, such as the extension of Saturday voting, but that other parts he finds to be “reminiscent of the past.”
“After 2020 election, we saw record turnout of Americans… we should be doing everything to ensure we have a record turnout in every election especially in Georgia where you have very long lines. In Black communities, passing out water is a way to keep folks in line,” he said.
In response MacCallum explained details of the law, saying there is a distinction between partisan individuals handing out food or water, compared to nonpartisan election officials, who are still allowed to do so.
“You can’t do electioneering,” she said. “So, you can’t do ‘Richard Fowler for Congress’ on the water bottle within 150 feet [of the poll]. That’s always been the rule.”
“This is histrionics — No one is desperate for water waiting in line, Richard. It’s not just. It’s really not fair. It plays on people’s emotions in a way that is not right.”
Fowler replied that in Fulton County, which both hosts Atlanta and is approximately 45% Black, volunteers from the League of Women Voters would be charged with a misdemeanor for handing out beverages to thirsty voters.
“I’m not talking about congressional campaigns,” he said.
“Bring water, like everywhere else in the world. We’re getting lost in the weeds here,” MacCallum countered. “In the big picture, there’s an enormous battle to get [election laws] changed back to what they were pre-COVID.”
During the interview, Charlie Kirk added that activists have put pressure on iconic Georgia companies like Coca-Cola, Home Depot and Delta Airlines to push back on the law.
Delta in particular made news Thursday when CEO Edward Bastian wrote a memo to employees calling the law “based on a lie” and counter to the company’s values.
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Bastian claimed the law will unduly burden “many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives. That is wrong.”
The Republican-majority Georgia House of Representatives which had approved the law fired back at Bastian, summarily passing a measure that would strip Delta Airlines of its multimillion-dollar state tax break, according to Forbes.