Former President Jimmy Carter issued a statement on Tuesday condemning Georgia Republicans’ efforts to “turn back the clock” and make it harder for people to vote.
Cater spoke out after Georgia Republicans passed some of the most restrictive voting laws since Jim Crow. The state Senate passed a bill that would end no-excuse absentee voting. Its state House passed legislation that, as my colleague Ari Berman reported yesterday, “restricts the use of mail ballot drop boxes, prevents counties from accepting grants from nonprofits to improve their elections, adds new voter ID requirements for mail ballots, gives election officials less time to send out mail ballots and voters less time to return them, and even makes it a crime to distribute food and water to voters waiting in line.”
“I am disheartened, saddened, and angry,” Carter wrote in a statement released by his nonprofit, the Carter Center. “Many of the proposed changes are reactions to allegations of fraud for which no evidence was produced—allegations that were, in fact, refuted through various audits, recounts, and other measures. The proposed changes appear to be rooted in partisan interests, not in the interests of all Georgia voters.”
Carter also expressed his disappointment that people seeking to limit the vote in Georgia often cited a 2005 report he helped prepare on mail voting practices. “In the 16 years since the report’s release, vote-by-mail practices have progressed significantly as new technologies have been developed,” he wrote. “In light of these advances, I believe that voting by mail can be conducted in a manner that ensures election integrity.”
“American democracy means every eligible person has the right to vote in an election that is fair, open, and secure,” he concluded. “Our goal always should be to increase, not decrease, voter participation.”
Read the full statement here.