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‘Jim Crow,’ Georgia law, and conflicting takes on state’s primary

New Georgia Project canvasser Mardie Hill holds informational door hangers about the primary election on May 23 in East Point, Ga. The 64-year-old grandmother has been going door to door for more than 15 years to encourage residents to exercise their right to vote.ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP via Getty Images

Turnout was strong in spite of the new voting law

Jeff Jacoby’s recent column “Georgia voters expose the ‘Jim Crow’ smear as a lie” misses the mark (Opinion, May 25).

He claims that Georgia’s new voting law increased voter turnout. Rather, I would argue, voters turned out in spite of Georgia’s new law.

Georgia’s law has numerous problematic elements that infringe on the right to vote. For instance, the law has strict ID requirements for those voting by mail. These are harmful because voter ID laws discriminate against nonwhite voters, even as the threat of voter fraud is exceedingly rare.

Georgia’s law also prevents non-poll workers from passing out food and beverages to those waiting in line to vote. This is also discriminatory, since non-white, lower-income voters are more likely to wait in long lines to vote than white, wealthier voters.


Voters continue to turn out in high numbers because they understand the urgency of our times. They know that, to address issues such as racial justice, income inequality, and climate change, they must turn out to vote. Even oppressive laws like Georgia’s can’t stop voters.

Instead of increasing barriers to voting, we should make voting more accessible. Policies like Election Day registration are critical to this, especially in traditionally underrepresented communities.

Vanessa Snow

Policy and organizing director



MassVOTE is a nonpartisan nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to voting rights.

Can’t have this discussion without citing Stacey Abrams

Jeff Jacoby says that Governor Brian Kemp “was right” when he predicted that Georgia’s 2021 overhaul of voting laws would “expand voting access” in the state, but I find it interesting that Jacoby makes not one mention of Stacey Abrams’s organization, Fair Fight.

Fair Fight was founded by Abrams after the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, in which her opponent, Kemp, then secretary of state and thus the overseer of his own election, was accused of conflicts of interest for, among other things, removing more than 500,000 voters from the rolls in July 2017. The New York Times reported that Abrams’s organization “inspired an estimated 800,000 residents to register to vote.” It seems that a discussion about the increase of registered Black voters in Georgia from 1996 to November 2020 ought to mention this, no?


I suspect that voter turnout has increased in Georgia in spite of the new voting laws, not because of them.

Kecia G. Lifton


He sent scores of get-out-the-vote postcards to Ga.

Jeff Jacoby’s citation of evidence notwithstanding, it does not necessarily follow that the increased turnout in the Georgia primary demonstrates that the new law, S.B. 202, was not enacted to suppress voting.

In the weeks leading up to that state’s primary, I mailed between 50 and 100 get-out-the-vote postcards to Georgia voters on behalf of my local Indivisible chapter. I have no idea how many other cards, texts, and letters were sent by others, nor why people sent them. But I was motivated in part by the new law.

Further, it could very well be that Georgia voters didn’t need any more motivation to get to the polls than what they perceived to be vestiges of Jim Crow in the new law. They had made up their minds to vote no matter what obstacles the state placed in their way.

In short, the result can easily be seen as indicating that the new law failed to achieve its objective.


Rick Schrenker

North Reading

It’s just the primary. Watch for lots of shenanigans in November

Jeff Jacoby argues that Georgia’s new voter law isn’t “a racist scheme” or a revival of “the evils of the Jim Crow era,” and that the results of the state’s primary proved it. Everything is just fine. So there.

Jacoby fails to mention that the Georgia Republican Party is targeting general elections, not primaries. So watch for all sorts of shenanigans in November, such as massive purges of voter rolls in heavily Democratic areas and local election boards being pressured to let the GOP “fix” it.

Stop declaring victory before the battle.

Ellen Curran

North Attleborough