President Joe Biden advanced a false narrative about Georgia’s new election integrity law, claiming that it reduces voting hours, thereby compromising the ability of working-class Americans to go out and vote. This is a clear falsehood, as the law does not change Election Day hours and actually expands access for early voting, as the establishment media outlet, the Washington Post, pointed out in a fact-check, giving the commander-in-chief Four Pinocchios.
Biden has spoken sharply against Georgia’s election law, which Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed last week, repeating many of the talking points touted by far-left members of Congress, even referring to state election integrity efforts as “un-American” and “sick,” making “Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle.”
“What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is. It’s sick. It’s sick … deciding that you’re going to end voting at five o’clock when working people are just getting off work,” he said during last week’s news conference. The following day, Biden claimed the law ended voting hours early “so working people can’t cast their vote after their shift is over.”
However, Biden’s assertions are not accurate. Election Day hours in Georgia, which are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., have not changed. Those in line by 7 p.m. are permitted to cast their vote.
“Nothing in the new law changes those rules,” the Washington Post reported.
Georgia’s law did, however, make changes to early voting, but the Post explained that experts said the “net effect was to expand the opportunities to vote for most Georgians, not limit them”:
“One of the biggest changes in the bill would expand early voting access for most counties, adding an additional mandatory Saturday and formally codifying Sunday voting hours as optional,” Stephen Fowler of Georgia Public Broadcasting said in an excellent and comprehensive report on the impact of the new law. “Counties can have early voting open as long as 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at minimum. If you live in a larger metropolitan county, you might not notice a change. For most other counties, you will have an extra weekend day, and your weekday early voting hours will likely be longer.”
Charles Stewart III, an election expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said: “I had also heard this generally reported as expanding early voting, so I’m surprised by the characterization.” He studied the precise language changes at our request and said it indicated an expansion of hours, especially in rural counties.
The law used to say early “voting shall be conducted during normal business hours.” Experts said that generally means 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The new law makes it specific — “beginning at 9:00 AM and ending at 5:00 PM.” A Georgia election official said the change was made in part because some rural county election offices only worked part time during the week, not a full eight-hour day, so the shift to more specific times makes it clear they must be open every weekday for at least eight hours.
Ultimately, the Post issued Four Pinocchios to Biden’s claim, emphasizing Election Day hours were not changed and the early voting changes actually expand access, as Heritage Action pointed out amid the left’s steam of false characterizations last week:
Earlier today, @SenSchumer made several false comments about SB 202 going through the Georgia Legislature.
We’re more than happy to #FactCheck the Senator and help him understand why SB 202 makes it easier to vote but harder to cheat.
— Heritage Action (@Heritage_Action) March 24, 2021
“President Biden’s misleading attacks are not supported by the facts: Georgia’s election reforms actually expand voting opportunities, extend early voting hours, and reduce wait times while promoting trust in the state’s election system,” Heritage Action executive director Jessica Anderson told Breitbart News in an exclusive statement.
“Over 80 percent of Americans support these commonsense measures to protect our elections and uphold a fair, transparent voting process,” she continued, explaining that groups opposing basic voter protections are “actually sowing mistrust and suppressing Georgian votes.”
“Georgia’s reforms increase voter confidence and should be the example for every state on how to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Anderson added. “Every state should follow their lead.”