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Letters to the Editor: Georgia’s voter water ban is petty and dumb. Its other voting restrictions are worse

People wait in a long line next to a sign with an American flag that reads Vote Here
People wait for early voting at the Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Ga., in October 2020.
(Michael Holahan / The Augusta Chronicle)

Arguably no story captured more attention this week than the section of Georgia’s new election law that banned the handing out of food and water to people waiting in line to vote. GOP leaders in states such as Florida are now looking to follow suit with similar restrictions.

The ban was dumb and petty. And the cruelty of it all is admittedly hard to ignore. But President Biden didn’t call Georgia’s new election law “Jim Crow in the 21st century” because of its potential for dehydration. The water ban was probably the least offensive part of Georgia’s recent bill. The full extent of the state’s voter suppression efforts include imposing a new ID requirement for voting by mail, allowing Georgia’s Republican-controlled election board to hand-select county election officials, shortening the window for people to request an absentee ballot and limiting access to voting drop boxes.

Yes, water bans could discourage voters trapped in long lines from sticking around to make it to the ballot box. And, yes, inserting law enforcement into the business of election day organizing is potentially ripe for abuse. But the real issue — just months after the assault on the U.S. Capitol that aimed to overturn the legitimate election of Biden — is the attempted disenfranchisement of thousands upon thousands of voters of color in service of one-party rule.

Democracy itself is on the line in Georgia, as it will be elsewhere if these laws are allowed to stand — and to spread. L.A. Times letter writers this week were quick to pick up on the gravity of Georgia’s voter suppression efforts.

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To the editor: Former President Trump is continuing to propagate a corrosive lie about Democrats supposedly stealing the 2020 election. These lies feel like a disease, parallel to the COVID virus — except there’s no vaccine. And now we have new Jim Crow laws in Georgia.

These attempts to make voting more difficult, especially for voters of color, are Republican legislators’ efforts to extend the former president’s delusional, pathological lies. It’s as if a narcissistic fantasy has wormed its way into legislators’ souls and poisoned their hearts and minds. This sick effort to undermine voting rights is based on pathological lies.

Remember the Older Women’s League motto: “Don’t agonize; organize.”

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Stanford Searl, Culver City

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To the editor: Jim Crow lives.

The foundation of our democracy is the right to vote. When a party loses an election it usually works to improve its ideas on how to better serve the public. But Republicans are set on making voting impossible for minorities through various voter suppression techniques.

White supremacy, once a little more subtle, has revealed its ugly self again. Fear of losing power fuels this behavior.

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We need a new voting rights bill.

Lena Ghazarian French, Pasadena

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To the editor: George Wallace, governor of Alabama in the 1960s, was a racist but not a hypocrite. He stood before the University of Alabama and proclaimed to the public and press, while denouncing forced integration of the university, “Segregation now; segregation forever.”

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After Georgia’s passage of a despicable law that makes it a crime to provide water to folks standing in line on election day, Brian Kemp, the state’s governor, should stand before all and declare the obvious: “Suppression now; suppression forever.”

Such a law has nothing to do with election integrity, as he claims. He just doesn’t want Black people voting and winning elections. He is a racist and a hypocrite.

Sidney Morrison, Los Angeles

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To the editor: If the recently enacted Georgia election laws are declared invalid, it will almost certainly be because of its prohibition of providing food or water to voters waiting to vote. It’s hard to imagine a more mean-spirited and meritless attempt to discourage voters. Georgia had some of the longest voter lines in the country in the last election.

This is so obvious that one wonders why Republican legislators thought it a good idea. It was probably just stupidity, but I’d like to think some moral and patriotic Republican legislator, realizing that enactment of the new laws was unstoppable, cleverly inserted a “poison pill” that would lead to its death by litigation.

Rick Dunn, San Diego

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To the editor: I have canceled my plans to visit Savannah, Ga., with my family. I will not set foot nor spend a penny in a state that is blatantly determined to suppress the voting rights of its citizens.

It is clear that the Georgia state legislators have little regard or understanding for the principles of a democracy. I will protest their actions in a base form that even they might understand: withholding access to my money.

Paul Brown, Newport Beach

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To the editor: There is only one word to describe the recent laws concerning voting in Georgia: Cheating. Plain and simple.

When I was growing up in SoCal, the worst thing someone might call you was a cheat and liar. Not that peachy, Georgia!

Greg Figge, Tustin


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