FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
WASHINGTON Governor Brian Kemp signs the “Sb 202” law on voting arrangements in Georgia. About ninety pages full of constraints, quibbles, requirements for exercising the basic right of democracy: choosing representatives in institutions, starting with the president of the United States.
One of these rules is simply ridiculous: it is forbidden to bring drinks and / or food to the people queuing at the polling stations. Others may seem closer to European standards: those who vote by post must attach a copy of their identity document. But all this must be interpreted in the context of a state in the balance and bearing in mind the bitter divisions in the country, after the long campaign of delegitimization on the electoral result conducted by Donald Trump.
(To stay up to date, subscribe to AmericaCina, the daily newsletter of the Foreign editorial staff that tells the story of the two powers and their spheres of influence: click here, and register at Il Punto).
This day, Friday March 26, is loaded with symbols. Kemp sits at his desk surrounded by six co-workers, all white men. In the background, the painting by Olessia Maximenko which portrays the Brick House Road of the Callaway Plantation, a historic place of slavery in the Deep South.
According to Democrats and civil rights activists, the “Kemp law” has a clear objective: to limit the turnout of African Americans and the most marginalized sections of the population as much as possible. On November 4, the “black” voters were fundamental for Biden’s victory, who won by only 11,770 votes. There were about 5 million ballots, of which 1.4 with early voting and 1.3 million with ballots sent by post. From now on it will be much more complicated to use postal voting, while the positions for “early voting” will be reduced and will follow a normal public office hours, incompatible with the needs of those who work.
The progressive camp is on alert. President Joe Biden said we are facing the “Jim Crow of the twenty-first century”, recalling the dark season of American segregation based on a series of discriminatory laws and provisions. On Twitter, there are those who have compared the photo of Kemp to a group portrait with the Governor of Alabama, the white supremacist George Wallace. A yellowed image of the fifties or sixties, which for the democrats returns to the present day.
In the eyes of the Republicans, however, Georgia is a model, a cultural manifesto for reacting to Biden’s victory. It is the way to consolidate the strongholds that have held, such as Texas and Florida, undermined, however, by demographic changes, with the tumultuous advance of new generations of Latinos and African Americans. It is the tool to prepare for a rematch where the defeat was traumatic: Georgia, of course, but also Arizona. Overall, at least 20 Republican-led states are preparing similar regulations.
The Democrats will try to cancel or mitigate them with a federal law on voting rights, already approved in the House. The White House could intervene with an executive order. The Federal Department of Justice is exploring the possibility of an appeal. Surely there will be a judicial battle, triggered by activists, which could go as far as the Supreme Court, where conservative-oriented judges are in the majority: six against three.
March 27, 2021 (change March 27, 2021 | 22:34)