South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham acknowledged on Sunday that Georgia’s new election reform law making it illegal to give voters food or water while they are in long lines did not make much “sense.”
Georgia Republicans passed a sweeping bill last week that allows state officials to take over local election offices, strips the secretary of state of some powers after he pushed back on Trump’s fake fraud claims, requires voter ID, shrinks the amount of time to submit mail-in ballots and vote in runoff elections, and other measures like barring anyone from giving water to voters.
“Senator, are Republicans going too far in some of these various states?” Fox News host Chris Wallace asked, noting President Joe Biden compared Georgia’s law to Jim Crow.
“You know what’s sick is that the president of the United States played the race card continuously in such a hypocritical way,” Graham complained. “He said the filibuster was a relic of the Jim Crow era.”
He went on to criticize the Democratic H.R.1 bill, which includes numerous voting rights expansions, as the “biggest power grab in history.”
“Any time a Republican does anything, you’re a racist, if you’re a white conservative, you’re a racist,” he said. “If you’re a Black Republican, you are either pop or Uncle Tom. They use the racism card to advance the liberalism agenda. HR 1 is sick, not what they’re doing in Georgia.”
Graham admits issues with GA law:
Wallace pressed Graham on specific restrictions in the Georgia law.
“It would limit the number and location of drop boxes. It allows counties to cut off early voting at 5:00 p.m. before a lot of working people get off and could go vote, and this is the one that I think is creating the biggest fuss, it prohibits—it makes it a crime—to give food or drink to voters waiting in line,” he said. “Senator, why on earth, if Americans are willing to wait hours to vote, would you make it a crime for people to come and give them a bottle of water?”
“Well, all I can say is that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, I agree with you there,” Graham admitted, before moving back to criticizing HR 1.
Official pushes back on “suppression” claims:
Gabriel Sterling, a top Georgia election official who repeatedly pushed back on Trump’s fraud lies, said the bill was not great but included provisions he supported.
He told CNN that the bill took punitive action against his boss, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, for pushing back on Trump.
“I wouldn’t have written the bill this way,” he said. “I definitely wouldn’t have written a bill that took my boss, Secretary Brad Raffensperger, who did a great job ... out of the role as chief elections officer of the state elections board.”
But he told MSNC that while the bill was political and came “in response to a lot of the fraudulent claims of the president,” it “doesn’t mean there aren’t good things” in the bill.
He particularly pointed to the change from signature verification to ID number verification on mail-in ballots as a good reform.
"Nothing in this bill suppresses anyone's vote," he added on Twitter. "Those saying so are just stirring the pot and raising money. The claim of voter suppression has the same level of truth as the claims of voter fraud in the last election."