Reaction to voting reform law demonstrates national divide

It seems that every time new laws are passed, or even discussed, almost immediately those in opposition attempt to play up racial concerns regardless of whether there is evidence to support those claims. More often than not, these claims originate from those seeking power or those attempting to retain power and influence public opinion.

National- and state-level political leaders, as well as media outlets at home and abroad, have for weeks peddled the narrative that Georgia’s new voting laws will be a hinderance to voters of color but based on my research, that does not appear to be a valid argument.

It is unclear to me how laws that are applicable to all voters can only negatively impact certain segments of the population. I’m also uncertain what those who are making these assertions are basing them on, unless perhaps they are based on documented economic disparities among racial groups. Oddly though, proof of income may be required to rent or lease a home or vehicle; it is not required to cast a vote.

Talking points floated by political and social leaders, rarely, if ever, reference statistical data that supports the assertions being made. However, the claims are readily accepted by certain segments of the public and the media, with no effort to confirm them, and many do not hesitate to repeat the claims as if they are statistically factual.

The only criteria I can imagine that may adversely affect any voter is a lack of financial resources, which may make it difficult for some to take time away from their jobs to cast a vote. If assertions of racial inequities of voting laws are based on the financial status of active voters, statistics published by sos.gov paint a different picture of whom may be negatively impacted.

Of Georgia’s active voters, 271,819 self-identify as Hispanic, 1,103,557 identify as Black and 3,889,142 identify as White. There are more than three times as many White voters than Black voters and 14 times more White voters than Hispanic voters.

According to the most recent statistics reported on welfareinfo.org, 11 percent of Georgia’s 5.3 million White residents, or 583,000, fall below the poverty line; 24 percent of Georgia’s 3.8 million Black population, or approximately 912,000, fall below the poverty line, and 26.7 percent, or 247,500 of the state’s 927,124 Hispanic population fall below the poverty line.


If we compare those who fall below the poverty line to the numbers of active voters based on ethnicity, 427,805 White voters fall into the category of poverty-stricken. By contrast, 264,853 Black voters and 72,575 Hispanic voters are considered to be poverty-stricken.

There are more White active voters in Georgia who potentially fall below the poverty line than there are Black and Hispanic voters combined. If there are more White voters who may be financially challenged than the other two largest ethnic groups, how do the new voting laws disproportionately affect only people of color?

The right to vote for all except White males has been a struggle since the organization of the suffragette movement in the early 1900s when women began their fight for the right to vote. Our right to vote should be appreciated and respected by all. There is no reason for distortion of facts and misleading assertions, particularly from those in positions of influence. If there are negative consequences associated with any legislation, it is safe to assume those negative consequences would affect all people rather than some people.

I believe anyone, regardless of the color of their skin, who wants to cast a vote, can. It may take a little effort, but so do most important things in life. Employers are required to allow time away from the job for employees to cast votes and many entities provide free transportation to and from polling locations.

Additionally, if one is mature enough to cast a vote, they should also be mature enough to realize that if they may possibly be waiting in line for hours to cast their vote; they should perhaps be a bit more self-reliant and bring their own snacks and drinks rather than expect others to provide them.

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