Journalist Zaid Jilani: Expansions of voting rights have made Georgia competitive again

Journalist Zaid Jilani said Monday that Democrats’ recent success in Georgia was due in large part to a “motor voter” statute that increased voter rolls.

“In 2016 they enacted what’s called AVR, automatic voter registration,” Jilani said in a Hill.TV interview. “The DMV will automatically register you to vote. I think that will probably also end up skewing towards a younger population.”

More widely publicized efforts to increased voter registration, he said, were “a drop in the bucket compared to what the AVR law did… I think over 4 million people were registered through that.”

In 2022, he added, “even if there’s a midterm backlash against [President] Biden, the Democrats still have a chance of taking the governor’s mansion and they still have a chance of picking up seats in the legislature. Georgia is returning to its more purple-ish position that it was in in the early 2000s, where you had [former Gov.] Roy Barnes or someone like that being in actual competitive races with Republicans.”

Hill.TV co-host Krystal Ball noted polling indicating more than 75 percent of Georgians back another round of direct coronavirus aid, which new Sens. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockCongressional Black Caucus members post selfie celebrating first WH visit in four years Black lawmakers press Biden on agenda at White House meeting Biden praises settlement in dispute between electric vehicle battery makers MORE (D) and Jon OssoffJon OssoffBiden praises settlement in dispute between electric vehicle battery makers Memo to millennials: Don't be mad at us Group launches M campaign against legislators who back 'suppression of voting rights' MORE (D) campaigned on, and that Warnock is more popular in the state than Biden after then-Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerGeorgia's top election official looks to shake political drama Collins hits Warnock after All-Star Game pulled: 'Thanks for nothing' High anxiety over Trump in Georgia GOP MORE (R) frequently attacked him as a “radical liberal.”

Jilani agreed that the promise of additional payments was a “short-term factor” in Ossoff and Warnock’s victories in last month's runoffs, and that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell seeks to end feud with Trump Senate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill Colin Powell on Afghanistan: 'We've done all we can do' MORE (R-Ky.) “undercut[…] the Republicans by not allowing a vote on $2,000 payments."