CNN's Smerconish Exposes Liberal Lies Against Georgia Voting Law

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

Over the weekend, Michael Smerconish again demonstrated that his Saturday morning show is one of the few islands of credible journalism at CNN as he debunked some of the lies spouted liberals -- including journalists on his own network -- who have attacked Georgia's new voting law as "voter suppression,"

The Smerconish show began with the host putting into context the state's new rules designed to prevent political groups from using food and water distribution as a loophole to approach voters in line and underhandedly push their candidates. He went on to admit that he has changed his mind on the law after learning more about it.

His Republican guest, Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling quipped that the CNN host "sounds way too rational to be in the news media."

.After reading from existing law that forbids the targeting of voters in line for electioneering, he explained why the new rules make sense:

In December of 2020 ... Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger warned, quote, he "has taken action to crack down on political organizations and advocacy groups that use 'line warming' as a loophole to conduct political activity in violation of state law. Political organizations or advocacy groups will use the give-ways or gifts known as 'line warming' to inappropriately influence voters in the crucial final moments before they cast their ballots. Such efforts violate the protection Georgia law has placed on campaigning near a polling location or voting line."

He added:

That rationale explains the change in the law which then added this line: "nor shall any person give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited, to food and drink to an elector." Adding also, "This code section shall not be construed to prohibit a poll officer from making available self-service water from an unattended receptacle to an elector waiting in line to vote.

Smerconish went on to point out that other states have similar laws. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has clarified that anyone can still supply food and water to voters as long as they stay a minimum distance both from the line and from the polling place.

After technical difficulties delayed him from bringing aboard his Republican guest, the CNN host took a couple of minutes to explain that he had initially thought the law was an unnecessary reaction to overstated voter fraud, but then admitted that it makes more sense than liberals have made it sound:

After Sterling was given a chance to speak, his first reaction was to insightfully point out that Smerconish's sober and accurate analysis was unusual in the news media who have so far been in the tank for Democrats attacking the law and promoting partisan dishonesty: "Well, Michael, you sound way to rational to be in the news media or in politics..."

This episode of CNN's Smerconish show was sponsored in part by CFP. Their contact information is linked. Let them know you'd like to see more such fact-based work on CNN instead of the network's typical peddling of liberal spin and talking points.

Transcript follows:

CNN

Smerconish

April 3, 2021

MICHAEL SMERCONISH: But are the changes in the law deserving of their demonization? Take this one, for instance. Limiting how voters can be provided food or water while waiting in line to vote. I'm sure you've heard about it. Critics view this provision as a clear example of voter suppression, especially for communities of color who experience hour long lines, while advocates, like my next guest, view it as protecting voters from political organizations or advocacy groups trying to subtly influence their vote. I should point out the history. Georgia already had a law on its books covering electioneering at polling places. Here is what it said, in part.

"No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any person distribute or display any campaign material. nor shall any person solicit signatures for any petition, nor shall any person other than election officials discharging their duties, establish or set up any tables or booths on any day in which ballots are being cast."

In December of 2020, meaning after the presidential election, Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger warned, quote, he "has taken action to crack down on political organizations and advocacy groups that use 'line warming' as a loophole to conduct political activity in violation of state law. Political organizations or advocacy groups will use the give-ways or gifts known as 'line warming' to inappropriately influence voters in the crucial final moments before they cast their ballots. Such efforts violate the protection Georgia law has placed on campaigning near a polling location or voting line."

That rationale explains the change in the law which then added this line: "nor shall any person give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited, to food and drink to an elector." Adding also, "This code section shall not be construed to prohibit a poll officer from making available self-service water from an unattended receptacle to an elector waiting in line to vote.

Other states have similar laws -- like Montana and New York -- which mention food distribution prohibitions in  and Montana have same laws in their election codes. So is the heat that this particular provision getting warranted? Joining me now to discuss further, the chief operating 

(...)

I may as well tell you what I think about this. ... Here's what the Delta chief executive says:

"The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie -- that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections. This is simply not true. Unfortunately, that excuse is being used in states across the nation that are attempting to pass similar legislation to restrict voting rights."

That strikes me as accurate, insofar I think the Brennan Center -- I'm doing this from memory -- have said there are like 24 different states that are cracking down on widespread election fraud based on the presidential race. There was no documentation of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. So I've said in the past: Is this all a solution in search of a problem? Having said that, when I scrutinize the Georgia law and break it down by its component parts, I do think that the demonization of it is being inflated. 

And, you know, the soundbite -- you saw that I just had to go through the reading of the law, what it used to be and what it is now. It's complicated stuff to actually wade through. It's far more effective as a soundbite so say, "Oh, my God, have you heard that in Georgia you can't even take water out to somebody who's sitting out in that hot sun for three or four hours?" I mean, that's a good soundbite. The truth is a little different. Those are my two cents.

Okay, now they're saying the guest is back. Gabriel Sterling, thank you so much. Now, you know how I view this. I do view the Georgia macro as a solution in search of a problem. But when I look at the provisions, I, frankly, don't find them so objectionable. Your response is what?

GABRIEL STERLNG, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE: Well, Michael, you sound way to rational to be in the news media or in politics...

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