'We can do better': Raphael Warnock schools Brad Raffensperger on voter suppression
One of the talking points on the right argues that a heavy voter turnout in elections — especially among Black voters — disproves allegations of voter suppression. Conservative Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has made that claim, but Sen. Raphael Warnock vehemently disagrees.
The Democratic senator, who was reelected when he defeated GOP challenger Herschel Walker in a very competitive runoff, is stressing that a heavy voter turnout doesn’t mean that voter suppression doesn’t exist in his state — it only means that Georgia residents got out and voted in big numbers despite a concerted effort by Republicans to make voting more difficult.
In an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, December 18, Raffensperger called out MAGA Republicans who are falsely claiming that widespread voter fraud occurred in his state. But he was also critical of Warnock’s comments about voter suppression.
READ MORE:North Carolina judges rule Republicans 'acted unconstitutionally' in strategic voter suppression efforts
Raffensperger, who enjoyed a 9 percent reelection victory over Democrat Bee Nguyen in November, wrote, “I have to spend a lot of time shooting down false claims about our elections in Georgia. Usually, they come from losers. But sometimes, even victorious candidates make false claims about our elections…. I thought I had heard every conspiracy theory there was after the 2020 election, but the idea that Republicans control the weather to make it harder for Democrats to vote is a new one.... And I don't even know what Mr. Warnock means by 'all kinds of other tricks.'”
During his victory speech, Warnock said, “Just because people endured long lines that wrapped around buildings some blocks long, just because they endured the rain and the cold and all kinds of tricks in order to vote, doesn't mean that voter suppression does not exist.”
Warnock doubled down on his point during a Monday, December 19 appearance on “CBS Mornings.” And the reelected senator specified what he means by voter suppression.
In Georgia, Warnock explained, Republicans aren’t coming right out and telling people that they can’t vote, but are finding a variety of ways to make voting as difficult as possible. The fact that Georgia residents voted in big numbers in the Senate race despite the difficulty, according to Warnock, doesn’t disprove what he says — it simply means that many people were determined to vote despite the difficulty.
READ MORE: Voter suppression bills having 'little effect on turnout' does not make them good laws: journalist
The senator told CBS News, “We literally saw college students and seniors in lines that were hours and hours and hours long. Maybe (Raffensperger) is happy with that. I'm not. I think we can do better than that.”
Once a deep red state, Georgia has evolved into a swing state in recent years. And Democrats are much more competitive in statewide races in Georgia now than they were ten or 15 years ago.
The Peach State now has two Democratic U.S. senators (Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff), and President Joe Biden carried Georgia in 2020. But conservative Republican Gov. Brian Kemp enjoyed a decisive reelection victory in November, defeating Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams by around 8 percent.
Like Raffensperger, Kemp is a non-MAGA conservative who has angered MAGA Republicans by pushing back against the Big Lie and rejecting former President Donald Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Raffensperger and members of his family have received death threats from Trump supporters.
READ MORE: 'What kind of person are you?' Brad Raffensperger’s wife sent Kelly Loeffler a 'blistering' text in 2020
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