Survey: 0% of Black Georgians Report Poor Voting Experience
Zero percent of black voters in Georgia rated their personal voting experience as “poor” in the 2022 midterm election, according to a University of Georgia Post-Election Survey released last week. The results of this survey (should) drive the final nail in the coffin to the progressive narrative that Georgia’s Election Integrity Bill of 2021 was a racist conspiracy to undermine democracy.
Georgia Republicans proposed an election integrity bill in response to the irregularities, uncertainties, and controversies surrounding the 2020 election. They aimed, like many other state legislatures, to learn from the mistakes of that election and preemptively correct any vulnerabilities in their election laws. The bill passed both chambers and was signed into law by March of 2021.
Yet national Democrats had already determined to make Georgia an example before they bothered to read the bill. President Joe Biden travelled to Atlanta to declare the law “Jim Crow 2.0” and compare its supporters to George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Jefferson Davis — even though the evidence he claimed to support these tremendous allegations earned him four “Pinocchios” from The Washington Post. The federal Department of Justice sued Georgia, alleging that the bill was “adopted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race.” Even major corporations jumped on the bandwagon before noticing it had no wheels.
In 2022, Georgia voters set an all-time record for midterm election turnout, including record early voting and record absentee turnout. Almost four million ballots (56.9% of eligible voters) were cast in the general election, and 3,542,116 ballots (50.5%) were cast in the December 6 runoff.
Yet the predictably unfriendly mainstream media still questioned whether the law was beneficial. Various outlets suggested that midterm turnout “misse[d] expectations,” that votes were suppressed in spite of record turnout, and that voting was hindered in many small ways.
The UGA Survey offers a glimpse into what Georgia voters themselves experienced on Election Day 2022. They asked 1,253 Georgia voters, “At a personal level, how would you rate your overall experience voting in this election?” Overall, 95.5% rated their experience as Excellent or Good, 3.5% rated it as Fair, and only 0.6% rated it as Poor. But strikingly, 0% of blacks, “other” races, voters aged 18-29, or liberals reported having a Poor voting experience. The demographics most likely to report a Poor voting experience were conservative (0.7%), Independent (2.6%), white (0.9%), aged 65 or older (1.0%), with no college education (1.2%), and an annual income under $25,000 (5.3%).
To be clear, the tiny percentage (0.6%) with a Poor experience represents only seven or eight individuals, so their “Poor” reviews more likely reflect anecdotal hardships rather than a systemic problem. But it does erase all possibility that this law disfavors black voters and aims to prevent them from voting, as it has been accused of doing. The most common features are low income, low education, and advanced age; and all respondents with a Poor experience were white, not black.
In fact, throughout the survey, blacks typically reported the smoothest experiences, with whites following close behind, while other races (primarily Asians and Hispanics) often trailed as a distant third. On the same question mentioned above, 3.3% of blacks, 3.0% of whites, and 8.6% of other races described their voting experience as Fair, the second-lowest option. Asked whether they felt safe while waiting to cast a ballot, 0.6% of blacks, 0.7% of whites, and 5.8% of other races said, “No.” Only 0.5% of blacks had a self-reported problem with voting, compared to 1.3% of whites and 2.2% of other races. Only 0.6% of blacks waited more than one hour to vote, compared to 1.2% of whites and 2.6% of other races. If this election law created a “Jim Crow 2.0” that singled blacks out for special harassment, these survey results simply don’t show it.
In fact, blacks also possessed the highest confidence in Georgia’s election procedures, both individually and statewide. When pollsters asked, “How confident are you that your vote in this midterm election was counted as you intended?” only 0.3% of blacks said, “not at all confident,” compared to 4.8% of whites and 4.3% of other races. Meanwhile, 68.5% of blacks said, “very confident,” compared to 63% of whites and 58.8% of other races. (This is likely related to the fact that 20% more liberals than conservatives were “very confident” that their ballot was counted accurately, as blacks are more likely to identify as liberals.)
Then, pollsters asked the same question in general, “How confident are you that votes in Georgia were counted as voters intended?” Only 1.9% of blacks responded, “not at all confident,” compared to 6.9% of whites and 7.6% of other races. But 41.1% of blacks responded, “very confident,” compared to 39.4% of whites and 34.8% of other races. It’s noteworthy that all respondents (including liberals, moderates, and conservatives) were substantially less confident in the integrity of every ballot than in the integrity of their own ballot. This is the result of various narratives questioning the integrity of the election from across the political spectrum. People were much more confident in the election process they saw firsthand than in the irresponsible reports they heard from the media. This suggests that, when elections are secure, claiming they are not undermines confidence in the process.
The UGA Survey sought out voters’ opinions of the newly passed election security bill. “In your opinion, did the recent changes made to Georgia’s election laws increase or decrease your confidence in the state’s election system?” they asked. The most striking feature of the results is the lack of strong opinions. A full third (33.2%) responded that they didn’t know. Less than a quarter (23.1%) believed their confidence in the election system would “greatly” increase or decrease as a result of the law, while 43.7% of respondents said that it “somewhat” increased or decreased their confidence. Overall, voters were far more likely to respond positively (42.2%) than negatively (24.6%). These results are consistent with expectations if the election bill was, as its defenders claimed, a collection of minor reforms to an already well-functioning system. They are not at all consistent with breathless allegations that the bill is a democracy-ending catastrophe.
However, blacks were an outlier from the mildly positive sentiment most Georgian voters felt toward the Election Integrity Bill of 2021. Nearly half (48.7%) of respondents said the bill decreased their confidence in Georgia’s election integrity, almost twice as many as those whose confidence was increased (27.9%); only 23.3% didn’t know. This heightened mistrust was not based upon experience — the survey shows that blacks, if anything, had better voting experiences than those of other races. Instead, the mistrust must be blamed on the relentless media disinformation campaign aimed at black voters, which told them ad nauseum, with dubious evidence, that this bill was a poorly disguised weapon to disenfranchise them.
Now, as the 2022 midterm election results are digested, the irresponsible fearmongering over Georgia’s election security law seems only to disservice the black community by decreasing their confidence in one of the fairest, most secure state election systems in the country.
Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.