Record turnout in Georgia? There was a record COLLAPSE, from 4.48 million total votes in the 2021 runoff to 3.54 million this year. Rev. Warnock’s vote in Fulton (Atlanta) plummeted by 74,000 votes. Let’s cut the BS — Brian Kemp’s SB202 Jim Crow’d this election. In this edition of the Thom Hartmann Program, Palast reveals how…
Thom Hartmann: Welcome back to the second hour of our program. On the line with us, our good buddy Greg Palast, the investigative journalist, author, and filmmaker. His latest is Vigilante: Georgia’s Vote Suppression Hitman. VigilanteMovie.com is the website. It’s airing free through this weekend, thanks to George DiCaprio, our mutual friend.
Greg, I’m hearing in the media, you know, I caught it on the news, actually from multiple sources, that the Georgia turnout was spectacular. The election was great there. It went off without a hitch. Brad Raffensperger should be congratulated. And isn’t it great the Raphael Warnock won, by the way? What’s, say you, sir?
Greg Palast: Well, everything’s fine, so see you later. No. Okay, this is completely from Brian Kemp and his dog’s body, Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger’s press release. The problem is that your math-challenged journalists — and they went into journalism ‘cause they flunked math, right? I was a professor of statistics, so I did something unusual, I actually looked at the numbers. Are you ready for this, Thom? Yes, there was a record turnout — a record collapse. Both the general and the runoff fell by 1 million votes. In the runoff, when Raphael Warnock ran last time, there was a 4.5 million vote turnout.
Hartmann: You’re talking about the general election, or are you talking about the runoff?
Palast: No, I’m talking about his runoff two years ago — 4.5 million votes. Now it’s down to 3.5 million votes. And even those who went through, you know, our No Child’s Behind Left Education program know that’s a 1 million vote drop — overwhelmingly in the four Black counties of Atlanta. Raphael Warnock’s vote plummeted by 74,000. It wasn’t picked up by Walker, it was a massive attack on the voter rolls.
I was just talking with Barbara Arnwine, recognized by just about everyone as the number one voting rights lawyer in America, from Columbia University. She was down there. She was in tears reading this stuff, that there was a record turnout. Look at the footnote. If you read the press release, the detail says in-person turnout, which was about the same. I said a million less, but how do you lose a million votes? It was the mail-in and dropbox vote, which they made virtually illegal.
The reason why Barbara was in tears is that she, Professor Arnwine, was down there literally carrying disabled, elderly Black people to the polls because they never sent them their mail-in ballots… Because they didn’t know for the first time under Jim Crow 2.0, or as Brian Kemp calls it, SB 202, you have to request a ballot — even though disabled people and soldiers normally get these ballots automatically.
The hero of our film, Vigilante, Major Gamaliel Turner, because he went to court. He got his ballot. He was assigned to a military base in California, but they never sent the absentee ballot to his wife who had joined him at the military base. So, this is the game that’s being played.
[Arnwine] says the real attack was on Black voters, and especially Black elderly, Black disabled, and students, it was horrific — horrific! And the voting lines, you can look online, the voting wait in Atlanta was two hours in every early voting precinct and in the white rural counties, the average wait was 10 minutes.
And it was raining in Georgia on Election Day. Barbara was also very upset, she saw mothers with children, could not hand them an umbrella, because that’s a felony crime and she would be disbarred. She couldn’t hand them a box of juice while they were waiting two hours in the rain. All she could do was go along the line and say, ‘Thank you for voting’.
It was Jim Crow at its absolute worst and what stuns me…Okay, I expected the Wall Street Journal to say, oh, Jim Crow 2.0 never happened. You know, they’re happy to repeat the press release. But the repeaters, not the reporters, at the New York Times… And it’s a guy I never heard of, maybe ‘cause of the strike at the New York Times. Clearly a math-challenged reporter who said that not only did it not affect the Black vote, SB 202, but, in fact, it backfired so that the Democratic vote actually increased. On what calculator is he working? I don’t see how you go from 4.5 million to 3.5 million [and that be an increase]. Raphael Warnock, in the main county of Atlanta, Fulton, his vote went down by 74,000. And the only number that they quoted was that the falloff between the general and the runoff was the same as the falloff between the general from 2020 to this election. The falloff was caused by SB 202, it wasn’t enacted in this month between the general and the runoff.
The biggest problem, was that they cut the runoff time from 60 days to 28 days. By the way, last time, Warnock and Ossoff, for their runoff, registered tens of thousands, I think at least a hundred thousand voters, I have to look it up, before the runoff. This time, they literally cut the runoff time so it was one day too late to register a single voter. And again, voters in the military, voters in nursing homes who automatically get their mail-in ballots, were not sent their mail-in ballots. They did not get any notice, by the way, you have to ask now for your mail-in ballot to vote in this election. And so [voting rights advocates] were going to the nursing homes getting affidavits, literally carrying disabled people to the polls.
Palast: This is what was going on. It was the most Jim Crow election I’ve seen in 22 years of reporting on this. And I’m horrified that you even have MSNBC having Brad Raffensperger, the GOP henchman who crafted this Jim Crow game, on as a hero.
Hartmann: I know.
Palast: Because he stood up against Donald Trump. And by the way, Brian Kemp has now been endorsed for President by the Wall Street Journal, and was given a virtual endorsement, listed as the best candidate by the New York Times. You see what’s going on?
Hartmann: And I guarantee you SB 202 is gonna be the next piece of ALE- model legislation for every other state with a Republican legislature — if it isn’t already.
Palast: Well, in fact, I was speaking just now with the newest congresswoman from Dallas, Jasmine Crockett, and the Congressional Black Caucus, they’re gonna be screening my film. They asked me if they could screen it for the Congressional Black Caucus. I said, fine, but how about the Congressional White Caucus? Because they came to Atlanta, not to help Warnock, but to prevent the spread of the disease of SB 202, this new Jim Crow law, to Texas, which they know is the next state that’s gonna be taken down by this game. Especially ’cause the national press said, oh, it didn’t affect the Black vote. In fact, the Black vote increased.
Hartmann: Yeah. They not only got away with it, they got praised for it.
Palast: They got praised for it. Can you imagine?
Hartmann: It’s just breathtaking, Greg.
Palast: It was cruel. It was not just evil. And when we talk about vote suppression… The Major Gamaliel Turner, who was denied his vote under this system where anyone can challenge someone else’s vote. 88 Republicans challenged 149,000 Democrats. But the Democrats, I will say to their credit, refused to challenge a single voter. Bravo!
Hartmann: Right? So, how many of those 149,000 people who were challenged by these Republican vote vigilantes — the thus the title of your movie, Vigilante: Georgia’s Vote Suppression Hitman — how many of those people who were challenged were not able to vote?
Palast: Well, luckily… we don’t have a final number, but most of them we were able to stop. Because the biggest challenge group was in Cobb County and Gwinnett County, and Gwinnett voted three to two, their elections board, to simply ignore these challenges. They said it was clearly systematic, partisan, and racist.
Palast: So it was voted down just by one single, independent nonpartisan elections official who said, I’ve seen Greg Palast’s evidence, and we are not going to remove these voters at all. Let the governor remove us. The governor now has the right to remove those elections officials. He’s removed 10 who haven’t agreed with him, including Helen Butler, who’s known as Mrs. Vote. She’s the number one expert on voting in Georgia. Brian Kemp yanked her under his new powers, from the elections board.
Hartmann: Was that part of SB 202, giving him the power to basically gerrymander the election board?
Palast: Indeed..and he’s used it. He used it before this election. And here’s the other danger, Thom, we’re talking 2024. Why do you think that the Texans were there and other delegates from the Congressional Black Caucus? It was not to just help people. They were calling people whose votes were denied. There was a mass challenge, by the way, on voter’s signatures, even though there’s not any evidence that any Black person forged a signature at all. But they were there to stop the contagion. And in 2024, under SB 202…Remember, Brian Kemp supposedly testified that when Trump called him and said, please call in your legislature, de-certify the votes in Fulton County in Atlanta. And Kemp didn’t say I wouldn’t do it, he just said, I don’t have the authority.
Hartmann: That’s correct.
Palast: Under SB 202, he has the authority — so look out for 2024. And it might be Brian Kemp de-certifying the vote against himself if he’s the candidate/
Hartmann: Yeah, and what I’m hearing is that Ron DeSantis, while everybody’s talking about him right now, ’cause he’s kind of Donald Trump with a law degree from Yale and can complete a coherent sentence and whatnot. That DeSantis is just going to be considered too extreme for the GOP and they’re gonna go for somebody…They don’t want a Mitt Romney, they don’t want somebody who’s seen as Mr. Milk Toast. Brian Kemp is seen as Mr. Hardass, basically.
Hartmann: He’s not, but he defied Trump, and that, you know, he turned into David the Giant Killer, really in the remnant of the GOP that’s not completely in MAGA-land.
Palast: Well, I’m worried about the Democrats who are getting seduced by this guy. You had an editorial, a glowing, suck up profile on Brian Kemp, a vicious vote suppressor, the worst. He makes Catherine Harris look like Thomas Jefferson. They ran this story, “Brian Kemp, the man who neutered Donald Trump”. Really??? He himself said, I support everything Trump stands for. I like Donald Trump. I don’t know why he doesn’t like me. And he’s more vicious than Trump in many ways.
Palast: You know, he’s the guy who has his shotgun and ran his commercials, I got me a pickup truck to pick up illegals myself, and, I just said that, I’m a politically incorrect conservative. This is red meat. And yeah, once he gets around the Trump pump, they’ve picked him for our president and they’re seducing the liberals. So go to VigilanteMovie.com. Let’s rip the bark off this guy and tell the truth.
Hartmann: Amen. VigilanteMovie.com. Check it out. You can watch it for free throughout the weekend — thanks to George DiCaprio for that.
Find out how the Georgia Runoff was Jim Crow’d.
Watch our film, Vigilante: Georgia’s Vote Suppression Hitman.
It’s FREE to stream this weekend only!