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Joy Reid spreads misinformation about Georgians not being able to vote because of Robert E. Lee holiday

Joy Reid and other public figures appeared to misattribute blame on a holiday that once celebrated Confederate General Robert E. Lee for restricting voting in Georgia.

MSNBC host Joy Reid claimed Tuesday that voting hours were being restricted in Georgia later this month due to an annual commemoration of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

"As the Georgia Senate runoff campaign kicks into high gear, Senator Raphael Warnock announced today that he is filing a lawsuit to allow Georgians to vote early on the Saturday after Thanksgiving," Reid declared. 

"Because of a law Republicans passed in 2016, it is currently illegal in Georgia to have early voting on any day that immediately follows a state holiday. And Friday, November 25th, is technically a state holiday. Celebrating the birthday of none other than Confederate general and literal traitor, Robert E. Lee," she continued.

While there used to be a holiday observing Lee’s January 19 birthday on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the state holiday was renamed in 2015, before the law Reid cites. Furthermore, the voting law is focused on regulations for Saturdays after state holidays in general. 


Even without Georgia's "State Holiday" the day after Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving alone would be enough to affect Saturday voting. 

Conservative commentator Gabriel Sterling explained the misattribution and demanded a retraction from former Obama adviser David Axelrod.

"David...the law says no Saturday voting following a Thursday or Friday state holiday. Thanksgiving is the reason for no Saturday voting. Please correct your tweet," Sterling urged. "It was passed years ago so county workers had their holiday, and the real world problem of getting pollworkers then."

But that didn’t stop other commentators like CNN’s Senior Political Commentator David Axelrod from tweeting, "This really is egregious. Dropping a day of early voting before the Georgia runoff because of a holiday originally meant to honor Robert E. Lee!"

CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers wrote, "Georgia said y’all can’t vote while we support Robert E Lee Day."

Former Atlanta Mayor and current Biden adviser Keisha Lance Bottoms tweeted, "Soooo…let me get this right….The holiday, formerly known as Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Birthday, prohibits early voting on a Saturday during the Senate runoff in Georgia? Oh, ok….#Vote."

Georgia state Rep. Jasmine Clark tweeted, "When the celebration of Robert E Lee’s birthday interferes with the administration of elections, we have a problem. The Civil War ended in 1865, yet in 2022, dead Confederate Generals are negatively impacting our elections. I will be introducing legislation to fix this!"


But even Warnock’s own lawsuit, provided by "voting rights" platform Democracy Docket, focuses on Thanksgiving and its relation to the following Saturday.

"The Secretary of State has nonetheless taken the unsupportable position that, despite the law’s command that counties begin offering advance voting ‘as soon as possible,’ id., counties are barred from opening the polls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving,’ the lawsuit read. 

Early voting for the Georgia runoff elections will begin on Monday, November 28.

NewsBusters reported, "’Voting rights’ champion Stacey Abrams also voted for the law that Reid is now deploring as some form of Confederate nostalgia."

Reid followed in the segment by slamming election integrity law as "Republicans’ Jim Crow 2.0." for cutting the Georgia runoff period from 9 weeks to four. 

This followed from President Biden slamming election security legislation in January as "Jim Crow 2.0," claiming it is "about two insidious things: voter suppression and election subversion." He added further, "It’s no longer about who gets to vote; it’s about making it harder to vote. It’s about who gets to count the vote and whether your vote counts at all."

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