Fox Business correspondent falsely claims early voting “wasn’t commonplace” before 2020

Fox Business correspondent Jackie DeAngelis claims states are “simply ensuring that pandemic rules don't apply indefinitely.” In fact, early voting had already been on the rise for 20 years.

Video file

Citation From the April 8, 2021, edition of Fox Business’ Mornings with Maria

MARIA BARTIROMO (ANCHOR): Welcome back. Georgia's new voting bill appears to be sparking progressive outrage — but it's really about H.R. 1. Now, Texas is also moving to shore up its voting rules, with the left calling it Jim Crow 2.0 — a lie. Some states feel it's necessary to clarify the rules after an election during a global pandemic that literally changed everything. Jackie DeAngelis with more on this. Jackie, we had an unprecedented election because of an unprecedented pandemic.

JACKIE DEANGELIS (FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT): That's right, Maria, and I think that's the main point here. As a nation, yes, we adjusted to this pandemic, a national crisis as well, we got through the 2020 election, and we did it successfully together.

Now with respect to early voting, pre-2020 it wasn't commonplace to keep the polls open a week or more before Election Day. The goal generally was to vote in person if you hadn't mailed in a ballot with a valid reason. So what we're seeing in Georgia, Texas, other states as well, and what the administration is calling Jim Crow 2.0, is that states are simply ensuring that pandemic rules don't apply indefinitely to voting in a post-pandemic world. And it's a principle that is so basic that is causing all of this outrage essentially, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Yeah, I mean, you laid it out perfectly Jackie, that's absolutely right. And we know that when you have a mail-in ballot, it does open the floodgates of fraud. The former AG told me this, former AGs as well as Bill Barr, and the DOJ. So what did we see in the 2020 election? We saw some ballots that went to empty parking lots, they came back completed. We saw some ballots that went to dead people. They came back completed. States want to ensure that mail-in ballots are not the norm, but that's not what H.R. 1 is. Nancy Pelosi's No. 1 priority, election reform, wants mail-in ballots to be the standard.

DEANGELIS: Right, and to your point in the previous segment, they're basically saying we will expand this to make it more accessible for people to vote. We just want signature verification, and we want to make sure that a real live, actual person, a citizen is casting that vote and that it's legal.

BARTIROMO: Well, you might want to call the MLB and make sure they hear this report, Jackie. You might want to call Delta Airlines, send them a link to your reporting, because that was spot-on.

In fact, the laws providing for no-excuse absentee ballots and in-person early voting first began to be pursued after the 2000 election, as part of an effort to cut down the long lines and overall workload on Election Day. The prevalence of people choosing to vote before Election Day then proceeded on an upward trend for 20 years, reaching 41% in 2016 before the COVID-19 pandemic then propelled it up to 73% in 2020.

In addition, Fox News has been falsely claiming that the new election law in Georgia makes it easier to vote, when in fact it cuts down the time to request an absentee ballot and includes other measures that reduce ballot access in urban areas. The network has also helped to obfuscate the new law's provisions that effectively allow the Republican-controlled state legislature to take over election administration in targeted local areas.

Finally, the core motivation for this new law, as well as a nationwide campaign by Republican-controlled state legislatures to restrict voting access following the 2020 election, all stem from former President Donald Trump's repeatedly disproven allegations of fraud in that election, especially in Georgia.

In reality, as Trump's former Attorney General Bill Barr admitted in December, there was no widespread fraud in the election and no basis to appoint a special counsel to investigate such baseless claims, as Trump had wanted.