UPDATED 10:35 AM PT – Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Lawmakers in the nation’s capitol are clashing over how to move forward with future elections. On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the recently passed voting rights laws in Georgia.
The hearing was dubbed by Democrats as “Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote.” Senate Republicans thought the name was misleading.
“The lack of judgment in this instance not only belittles those who endured such dehumanization and indignity through the Jim Crow-era, it also remind us, reminds all of us or certainly should, of what Jim Crow was and how and when that happened,” stated Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).
Democrats, including failed candidate for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams, decried the Peach State’s action while claiming the law will hinder minority voices. They painted several provisions as suppressive, including requiring ID’s, cutting down early voting in rural and urban communities as well as securing absentee ballot counting.
However, Americans who were around during the Jim Crow-era, such as like Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah), believe these claims are greatly exaggerated.
“I grew up in the era of actual legalized institutional racism, I grew up in the deep south of Florida in the 1960s during the days of KKK, Jim Crow and segregation,” he explained.
Owens went on to describe the life of minorities in the “Jim Crow south.” He explained how he was excluded from movie theaters, how his schools didn’t receive their own text books and how lawmakers took action to suppress black voters.
“In addition, Jim Crow laws like poll taxes, property tests, literacy tests, and violence and intimidation at the polls made it nearly impossible for black Americans to vote,” he stated. “The section of the Georgia law that has brought some much outrage from the left is simply requiring any person applying for an absentee ballot to include evidence of a government issued ID their application.”
The hearing comes amid Democrat attempts to pass H.R.1, or the For the People Act, which attempts to nationalize U.S. elections. Republicans in both chambers argue the bill is unconstitutional by taking away the power to administer elections from state legislatures.
In the meantime, GOP lawmakers in 47 states are proposing more than 350 laws to address election irregularities seen in 2020.