Loudermilk Hosts House Administration Committee in Atlanta on Voter Confidence

At a press conference held at the Marietta Diner on Monday, The Chairman of the House Administration Committee, Congressman Bryan Steil, R-WI, announced that the committee will move on the American Confidence in Elections Act. Afterward, a hearing of the committee was held at the former home of the Atlanta Braves, now the football stadium for Georgia State.

The timing and place, during Major League Baseball’s All-Star Break, at a venue once called the 755 Club, is no accident. In a video at the beginning of the committee hearing, clips were shown of Democrats calling on MLB to move the All-Star Game two years ago, including a claim by Stacey Abrams that SB 202 was, “racist.” The video also highlighted the economic damage experienced by Georgians as a result of those attacks. The video ended with text calling on the, “left,” to apologize.

During the ranking Member’s opening statement, Congressman Joe Morelle, D-NY, repeated many of the same disproven attacks on Georgia law, including how drop boxes were limited when in fact SB 202 legalized their use for the first time. The crowd in attendance was peppered with many recognizable election deniers and they grumbled audibly throughout his opening statement.

The bill is meant to trumpet many of the same policies that have driven voter confidence up as a result of the Georgia General Assembly’s passage of SB 202 but has a flavor of its own. Because you are a nerd like me, I am sure you will take the time to read it.

Waived onto the committee in addition to Loudermilk, who serves on it, were other members of the Georgia Congressional Delegation, including Lucy McBath, Mike Collins, and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

When McBath spoke, the crowd openly jeered her for repeating the same canard about water and food not being allowed in line at polling places. For one, this ignores the fact that voting lines after SB 202 were less than 30 minutes state wide, that the voter can bring their own water, or that water could be given to the poll manager to distribute without the campaigns of candidates working the line.

When I testified to this committee in D.C., Rep. Morelle went out of his way to ask every witness if Joe Biden won the 2020 election. Loudermilk, on his own turf, turned that around and asked each witness whether Brian Kemp won each of his elections. The implication is that many Democrats have been actively attacking the integrity of elections just as much as those who believe the election was stolen from Donald Trump by claiming that voter suppression handed those elections to Kemp in spite of Abrams shining star.

Rep. Morelle doubled down on that claim by pointing to a Brennan Center for Justice Report that claims that the delta between white and non-white voter turnout widened in the midterms. That report also claims that 176,000 African American voters would have cast ballots if turnout had matched white turnout.

176,000 is a huge number and a few things have happened since the Brennan Center issued that report in December of 2012. For one, at least one court case alleging SB 202 as racially discriminatory was thrown out. In a case from 2018 wherein Abrams alleged voter suppression, the judge dismissed the case in October of last year, stating that Abrams and her group could not provide a single instance or “direct evidence of a voter who was unable to vote, experienced longer wait times, was confused about voter registration status.”

Further, we have written and spoken at length about the UGA poll that found zero, not one, African American respondent who said their voting experience after the implementation of SB 202 was more difficult.

So this got me to thinking, and perhaps we can crowd source this to check my work, where are these 176,000 African American voters in Georgia? They cannot be produced as a witness in court and they do not show up in a poll conducted by the University of Georgia.

The Brennan Center’s post lays out their methodology, so take a look for yourself. What do you see? I see a whole lot wrong, starting with their commercially available data source. They also make some assumptions, use a weird metric to determine voter turnout, and several other things. So I went straight to the Secretary of State’s office for the data, and using what they provided, I cannot recreate the Brennan Center’s findings. And I tried.

So here is the data from the source:
General Election Turnout Data from 2022

General Election Turnout Data from 2018

When you click on the 2018 link, you will need to download a zip file and navigate down the folders to the 2018 data. I know it is cumbersome, but the SOS data has gotten a ton better as evidence by how 2022 is reported.

Why does it matter? Because we, Atlanta, lost an All Star Game over uncorroborated claims like these which led to real economic damage to thousands of us. Because these attacks continue to erode faith in our institutions which rests on the cornerstone of faith in our elections. Both sides continue to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of our citizens and it is leading us to an increasingly unhealthy place.

Voter confidence is a moving target. We are going to have to adjust our methods constantly to account for that movement. As a result, the work will never be finished and it is irresponsible to ignore a lack of faith in elections, regardless of who caused that faith to be shaken.

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