Georgia lieutenant governor scolds fellow Republicans for voter suppression tactics

1343

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said GOP voter suppression bills are 'solutions in search of a problem.'

Georgia's Republican lieutenant governor is criticizing members of his own party who are pushing for passage of voter suppression laws, saying the bills GOP state lawmakers have introduced that make it harder to vote are "solutions in search of a problem."

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan made the comments in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," in which he criticized Donald Trump's lies about voter fraud in the state and said that Republicans need to moderate their positions rather than suppress the vote in order to win in the future.

"Republicans don't need election reform to win, we need leadership," Duncan told moderator Chuck Todd. "I think there's millions of Republicans waking up around the country that are realizing that Donald Trump's divisive tone and strategy is unwinnable in forward-looking elections. We need real leadership, we need new — new focus, a GOP 2.0 that includes moderates in the middle, to get us to the next election cycle."

Georgia's GOP-controlled Legislature has introduced a host of bills following the 2020 election that make it harder to vote and directly target the minority populations that handed President Joe Biden and Democratic Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff victories. It's part of a coordinated Republican effort that voting rights experts call the biggest attack on voting rights since the Jim Crow era.

The Georgia state Senate passed a bill in early March that would repeal no-excuse absentee voting — something Republicans in the state created in 2005. And the Georgia House of Representatives passed a bill this month as well that requires ID to vote absentee, slashes the number of Sunday early voting days, and even makes it a crime to hand out food and drink to people waiting in line to vote.

Cutting early voting days directly targets Black voters, who organize "Souls to the Polls" events after Sunday church services.

The Rev. Ferrell Malone Sr., a senior pastor of a Black church in Waycross, Georgia, told the local newspaper the Athens Banner-Herald that the move to cut Sunday voting days is "evil."

"They are literally evil, and they're coming from men and women who say they are Christians," Malone said.

Duncan is an outlier in his party in speaking out against the GOP effort to suppress the vote after the 2020 election, saying that lies about voter fraud and voter suppression bills are not the path to success for his party.

"You know, this started shortly after the November elections when all the misinformation started flying up. And quite honestly, it hurt Republicans in any sort of conversation around election reform," Duncan said. "We lost credibility. Those were 10 weeks that we can't take back. January 6th was a pivot point for this country and for this party. And, look, we've got four years to win back the White House. We're not going to do it with a divisive tone."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.