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Georgia’s Election Law, and Why Turnout Isn’t Easy to Turn Off

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One simple answer is that convenience isn’t as important as often assumed. Almost everyone who cares enough to vote will brave the inconveniences of in-person voting to do so, whether that’s because the inconveniences aren’t really so great, or because they care enough to suffer them.

This supposes a certain reasonable level of convenience, of course: Six-hour lines would change the calculation for many voters. And indeed, long lines do affect turnout. It also supposes a certain level of interest. Someone might think: There’s no way I’m waiting a half-hour in line to vote for dogcatcher. Similarly, the importance of a convenient voting option probably grows as the significance of a race decreases.

The implication, though, is that nearly every person will manage to vote if sufficiently convenient options are available, even if the most preferred option doesn’t exist. That makes the Georgia election law’s effort to curb long lines potentially quite significant. Not only might it mitigate the already limited effect of restricting mail voting, but it might even outweigh it.

Another reason is that convenience voting may not be as convenient for lower-turnout voters, who essentially decide overall turnout. Low-turnout voters probably aren’t thinking about how they’ll vote a month ahead of the election, when they’ll need to apply for an absentee ballot. Someone thinking about this is probably a high-turnout voter. Low-turnout voters might not even know until Election Day whom they’ll support. And that makes them less likely to take advantage of advance voting options like no-excuse early voting, which requires them to think about the election early and often: to submit an application, fill out a ballot and return it.

As a result, convenience voting methods tend to reinforce the socioeconomic biases favoring high-turnout voters. The methods ensure that every high-interest voter has many opportunities to vote, without doing quite as much to draw less engaged voters to the polls.

A final reason is that voting restrictions may backfire by angering and energizing Democratic voters. This law’s restrictions on handing out water in line, for instance, may do more to mobilize Democrats than to stop them from voting. One recent study even theorized that the Supreme Court’s decision to roll back elements of the Voting Rights Act didn’t reduce Black turnout because subsequent efforts to restrict voting were swiftly countered by efforts to mobilize Black voters.

That doesn’t mean the Georgia law or other such laws are without consequence. Many make voting more difficult, enough to intimidate or discourage some voters. Many outright disenfranchise voters, even if only in small numbers. Perhaps the disenfranchisement of even a single voter merits outrage and opposition, especially if the law is passed on dubious or even fabricated grounds, and with Jim Crow mass disenfranchisement as a historical backdrop.

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Suspect arrested in fatal Brooklyn stabbing

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Police have apprehended a suspect in the fatal December stabbing of a Brooklyn man, cops said on Saturday.

The suspect, John Headley, 32, also of Brooklyn, was taken into custody Friday and charged with murder and weapons possession for the Dec. 12 knifing of Ken Baird, 37, police said.

Baird was stabbed multiple times in the chest following a dispute on Crown Street near Utica Avenue in Crown Heights at about 6:40 p.m., police said.

EMS transported Baird to King County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, cops said.

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Man dies after jumping from Staten Island Ferry

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A 53-year-old man died Saturday after jumping from the Staten Island Ferry into the chilly waters of New York Harbor, police said.

NYPD Harbor launch officers pulled the man out of the water after responding to reports of a jumper near the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan at around 2 p.m.

“He jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock,” an NYPD spokesman told The Post. He jumped off the Ferryboat Andrew J. Barberi, police said.

The unidentified victim was removed to Pier 11 and transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 3:10 p.m.

A newsstand worker said there were “about 50 or so emergency people” at Pier 11 following a valiant effort — which included CPR — to save the man’s life.

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An NYPD spokesman says the 53-year-old man “jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock.”

Michael Dalton

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The 53-year-old man was transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Michael Dalton

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Kemp Lashes M.L.B. as Republicans Defend Georgia’s Voting Law

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Mr. Kemp, who is gearing up to run for re-election in 2022, has striven to re-enter the good graces of Republican voters after becoming a central political target of former President Donald J. Trump because of his refusal to help Mr. Trump overturn the state’s election results last year. A former secretary of state of Georgia who has his own record of decisions that made voting harder for the state’s residents, he is again a key G.O.P. voice leading the charge on the issue.

On Saturday, he repeatedly tried to paint the league’s decision as driven by Stacey Abrams, the voting rights advocate and former Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia who is seen as likely to challenge Mr. Kemp again next year.

Ms. Abrams, one of the most prominent critics of Georgia’s voting law, has pushed back on calls for sports leagues and corporations to boycott the state. She said on Friday that she was “disappointed” baseball officials had pulled the All-Star Game but that she was “proud of their stance on voting rights.”

In defending the law in Georgia, Mr. Kemp singled out two Democratically controlled states, New York and Delaware, and compared their voting regulations with the new law in Georgia. Those states do not offer as many options for early voting as Georgia does, but they have also not passed new laws instituting restrictions on voting.

“In New York, they have 10 days of early voting,” Mr. Kemp said (New York actually has nine). “In Georgia, we have a minimum of 17, with two additional Sundays that are optional in our state. In New York, you have to have an excuse to vote absentee. In Georgia, you can vote absentee for any reason.”

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