A fact-checker at The Washington Post noted in a report published Tuesday morning that the recent election laws passed in Georgia expanded voting opportunities for most state residents, which contradicts recent remarks from President Joe Biden.
Fact-checker Glenn Kessler honed in on two-sets of remarks made by Biden last week:
- Biden on March 25: “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.”
- Biden on March 26: “Among the outrageous parts of this new state law, it ends voting hours early so working people can’t cast their vote after their shift is over.”
“On Election Day in Georgia, polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and if you are in line by 7 p.m., you are allowed to cast your ballot. Nothing in the new law changes those rules,” The Post reported. “However, the law did make some changes to early voting. But experts say 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. “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 that he studied the bill at the request of The Washington Post and concluded that the bill featured “an expansion of hours, especially in rural counties.”
Kessler writes that The Washington Post has “no clue” where Biden got the idea that the ordinary workers would have their voting opportunities limited because Georgia would “end voting at five o’clock.” The report explains that the law makes specific what normal business hours are—from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.—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.”
The report notes that Fulton County, which is a deep blue county, “set early-voting hours at 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on most weekdays and two Saturdays, though the last weekdays had 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. voting hours,” and “voting was allowed on two Sundays between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.” The report said that Fulton County “could set the exact same hours for in-person early voting — or expand them from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.”
The only area that the report said that voting opportunities could be limited is in runoff elections because the length of time between the initial election and the runoff election was shortened from nine to four weeks.
The report notes that Biden’s home state of Delaware “did not allow any in-person early voting in 2020,” but a law signed two years ago will allow early voting next year.