Conservative Black leaders defend Georgia voting bill, hit 'biased news media' coverage

Critics of the bill have substituted 'hysteria for judgment,' the leaders write

A group of conservative Black leaders defended the new Georgia voting law In a letter on Tuesday, including one signee who singled out the media for irresponsible coverage of the issue.

Media pundits such as MSNBC's Joy Reid have followed President Biden's lead and referred to the Georgia measure as a modern form of "Jim Crow." But the conservative leaders pushed back against critics of the law who have replaced "hysteria for judgment," arguing the bill "will help rebuild voter confidence, and make sure every vote counts." 

"Instead, critics of the law have substituted passion for reason, hysteria for judgment," the leaders write in their letter to Senate Judiciary Committee leaders Dick Durbin, D-Ill. and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. "They have launched a despicable smear campaign against supporters of the law and economic reprisals against the state of Georgia – punishing the very people they claim to champion. They have tarred with the brush of racism people whose only sin is a desire for confidence in our elections."

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The letter came as Durbin prepared to preside over a hearing entitled, "The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote."

One of the signees of the letter, Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James, said in a new Twitter video that she has a personal stake in the right to vote and would not do anything to jeopardize minorities' ability to go to the polls.

"Growing up as a black teenager during the 1960s, I knew the tremendous sacrifices and dangers that my friends and relatives endured to secure the right to vote for black Americans," James said. "So, let me be clear: I have zero interest in disenfranchising or suppressing the vote of any portion of the population."

"But that’s not what’s happening in Georgia or other states pursuing election reforms," she continued. "Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise."

But that's exactly what "the left and a biased news media" are trying to do, she argues

Other signees include former ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Campaign Ken Blackwell, civil rights leader Dr. Alveda King, former Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones, and Col. Allen West, the chairman of the Texas GOP.

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The Media Research Center produced a 4-minute video debunking a few of the more widely shared "myths" about the Georgia voting law. The bill shores up absentee voting application rules, extends early voting days, shortens the runoff period, and codifies drop boxes, among other reforms.

Georgia has weathered economic damage after the liberal outcry over the new law. Major League Baseball announced it was moving its All-Star Game out of Atlanta and into Denver, while several Hollywood producers and stars announced they're boycotting filming in the state.

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In their letter to Durbin and Grassley, the conservative leaders also issued a warning about congressional Democrats' national election bill, HR1, also known as the For the People Act, highlighting "a little provision where taxpayers will be forced to subsidize the campaigns of the very politicians now supporting HR1."

"What a massive conflict of interest," the conservative leaders write. 

HR1, James warns in an op-ed accompanying her Twitter video, "would allow illegal votes to cancel out legal ones" and "diminish the very voting rights that my relatives in the 1960s, the women suffragists of the early 1900s, and all the men and women of the armed forces throughout our history fought so hard to gain and protect."

"HR 1’s proposed changes to election laws do exactly the opposite of creating trust," she concluded.

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