Georgia GOP Voter Suppression the Media Missed, Likely to Spread Across the U.S.

Interview with Greg Palast, investigative reporter and author, conducted by Scott Harris

When Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock won his Dec. 6 runoff election against Republican opponent Herschel Walker, Democrats were assured of holding a 51-seat majority in the upper House. Media coverage of the runoff election featured dozens of laudatory stories about the high turnout of voters across the state, noting the long lines and many hours it took to vote, especially in the black community.

In his victory speech, Sen. Warnock warned Georgians and the nation  that despite his narrow win, there should be no complacency about the corrosive effect of voter suppression laws, especially Georgia’s notorious SB 202 law that made it more difficult for early in-person voting, voting by absentee ballot and using ballot drop boxes.

Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with investigative journalist Greg Palast, a New York Times best-selling author – who’s new documentary film is titled, “Vigilante: Georgia’s Vote Suppression Hitman.” Here, Palast provides a summary of his investigation into voter suppression in Georgia, reflecting on the reduced number of votes cast in the 2022 midterm election and the likelihood that the state’s voter suppression legislation will serve as a model for similar laws that will be exported across the across the U.S.

GREG PALAST: I mean, every news outlet — National ‘Petroleum’ Radio, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, even The Guardian. Shame on you. Of course, that’s one reason I resigned from The Guardian. I have reported the same phrase again and again that there was a “record turnout in Georgia.” MSNBC, everyone because both the left and right love this lie that there was this record turnout in Georgia.

You can’t find an exception to it except from Greg Palast and my direct outlets and now Between the Lines. Let’s start out with just the facts, ma’am. Let me read you this from the official site of the secretary of state of Georgia. The turnout in this runoff was 4,484,954. That was two years ago, with the last runoff between Warnock and Kelly Loeffler.

This year, it’s 3,538,910. Three and a half million. Let me do the arithmetic. Ten years ago, it was four and a half million votes. That was the turnout. This year, it’s three and a half million votes. That’s a one MILLION vote drop! Now, I guess you could say, Scott, that’s a record. It was a record fall, a nosedive in turnout.

I want to repeat that. One million votes. I read you the exact number. You can go to Truthdig in a couple days and get my full report with all the data and the links. But you know something? Your average journalist in America, especially in America and in England, became journalists because they flunked math.

Besides my degree in economics, I was a professor of statistics. And I’m not afraid of numbers. And I look at them and not the press releases. The Republican B.S. story. Press release after press release. Record turnout. Record turnout. Record turnout.

And in the TV news, they said same thing. Look at those long lines, man. People are voting in record numbers. It’s all a complete, absolute bag of horse stuff.

It’s wrong. It’s a lie. I don’t know what to do except to say somehow we got to get the truth out.

SCOTT HARRIS: Could you tick off some of the mechanisms in Georgia’s voter suppression law passed and signed by Gov. Kemp? What were the mechanisms in that law?

GREG PALAST: The runoff was dropped from 17 days to 7 in early voting. So of course, the lines were longer. You drop the number of days you can walk in and vote early by more than half.

If you go to a bank and there’s three tellers open and they say, we’re slamming two windows shut, the one teller left is going to have longer lines.
It doesn’t mean that the people are more enthusiastic.

So, number one, they cut early voting, which is the majority of African-Americans vote early. Atlanta votes early.

The second biggest chunk of African-American voters are mail in voting. They cut the runoff time from 60 days to 28, which made it nearly impossible for the counties to print, mail out for you to send back the ballots.

And, in fact, two years ago, you didn’t have to apply for a ballot for the runoff because you’d already applied for the absentee ballot for the general. This time you had apply. There was no time. Again, 90 percent drop in mail-in ballots because you couldn’t literally get them and get them back. It’s that simple.

In January 2021, you had 107 mail-in drop boxes in Atlanta. Now, you have to understand, Scott, you cannot mail in your ballot and have it postmarked by Election Day in Georgia. It has to be physically in the hands of voting officials on election days, not like America. Georgia is not part of America. It’s different. That meant you can’t mail in your ballot. You basically have to use a drop box.

And they cut the number of drop boxes just in Atlanta, only Atlanta, from 107 to 25. And at the same time, they took the white rural Republican areas and they actually increased the drop boxes. They took the drop boxes from black Atlanta and moved them to white rural Georgia.

SCOTT HARRIS: You have called Georgia the laboratory of voter suppression. What are the chances that we are going to see this voter suppression law from Georgia SB 202 exported to other Republican-controlled states?

As a statistician, I’d say 99.988 percent. Whatever we see in Georgia then goes to Texas, Florida, Alabama, Pennsylvania and especially Wisconsin. We’re very worried about the voter suppression techniques that are being taken from Georgia to swing state Wisconsin. They were saying this film is really about 2024 and the voter suppression techniques you will see there.

For more information, visit Greg Palast’s website at

Listen to Scott Harris’ in-depth interview with Greg Palast (18:07) and see more articles and opinion pieces in the Related Links section of this page.

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