Claims by politician Stacey Abrams that the Georgia voter ID law is racist is an “insult” to black people, House Judiciary Committee member Burgess Owens told Fox News on Wednesday.
The Utah Republican, who is himself black, stressed that “to say that black people cannot get an ID is an insult. We’re as smart, as tenacious, as desirous of independence as anyone else,” adding that the idea that black people don’t know how or are unable to get an ID like everyone else is “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
Owens emphasized that “the greatest threat to Democrats is American people, no matter what color, who are part of the middle class. Those people who are no longer dependent on the government. They have faith, they have a vision for their family.”
He took a further swipe at Democrats by saying that “Anybody who understands the Georgia law knows that it is fair. And whoever is trying to change the narrative is trying to divide us as a people.”
A day earlier, Owens testified at a Senate Judiciary Hearing entitled “Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote.”
Owens slammed the name of the hearing, emphasizing that “as someone who has actually experienced Jim Crow laws I’d like to set the record straight,” saying that “any comparison between this law and Jim Crow is absolutely outrageous.”
He added that “To call this Jim Crow 2021 is an insult, my friends. For those who never lived Jim Crow, we are not in Jim Crow.”
Owens talked about his past living during the Jim Crow era, when he protested outside a theater where black people were not allowed to enter, experienced public restrooms designated according to race and at a time where discriminatory practices such as literacy tests, property tests, as well as violence and intimidation “that made it nearly impossible” for black people to vote.
The congressman emphasized that Georgia’s voter identification law does not even require voters to show an ID card, because they are also allowed to provide a bank statement, paycheck, utility bill, or other government documentation with their name and address.
Even without any of those, Owens said, a voter can still fill out a provisional ballot.
He added that already 97% of Georgia voters already have ID, and that he does not understand why it is racist to require one.