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AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner / U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., gestures as he speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Jerusalem last year.

You may recall there was a little to-do last year when legislators across the line from Tennessee in Georgia updated the state's voter laws. You might have read or heard about it.

Ed Bastian, chief executive officer of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, said the laws "could make it harder for many Georgians, particularly those in our Black and brown communities, to exercise their right to vote."

Atlanta-based actor Tyler Perry demanded the Justice Department intervene against this "unconstitutional voter suppression law that hearkens to the Jim Crow era."

Bishop Reginald Jackson, who heads more than 400 African Methodist Episcopal churches in Georgia, said the law was "racist and seeks to return us to the days of Jim Crow."

President Joe Biden called the law "Jim Crow on steroids."

Actor Will Smith said he would move his latest project, "Emancipation," out of Georgia.

Major League Baseball removed the scheduled 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta.

Thirteen months later, although most experts have acknowledged the claims weren't true, Georgians have an opportunity to see if the complaints are playing out. The state has a primary election next week.

So U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., was able to have the latest information available Thursday when he interviewed two witnesses in front of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which was looking into upcoming elections.

Let's just say it didn't go well for the witnesses, who had made similar exaggerated statements as those above about the Peach State's new voter laws.

One witness, Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, had described the law as "limiting access to early voting."

Hagerty noted that, through the third week of early voting, early voting in Georgia was up 217% from the 2018 midterm election and up 155% from the 2020 presidential primary.

Asked if he still believed his claim was true, Hewitt dodged the question, claiming the numbers coming in were still being analyzed and that the new law — despite the evidence — "was designed to clamp down on a particular means of voting."

Following testimony by Tammy Patrick, senior advisor at the Democracy Fund, who characterized "misinformation" as being unintentionally false information, "disinformation" as deliberately misleading information, and "malinformation" as information that's used out of context, Hagerty asked her which of those terms would be proper to describe the falsehood that the new law reduced access to early voting.

(The new law actually expands early voting by requiring 17 days of it, at least two Saturdays, instead of one, and gives counties the option to offer it on Sundays.)

Like Hewitt, Patrick ducked a proper answer, saying the statement would need to be reviewed. Pressed to reply using the concepts she'd just outlined, she said she was not "qualified to make such a statement."

Hagerty then asked the witness about a statement made by Biden, who said it was "sick, deciding that you're going to end voting at 5 o'clock [the actual Georgia poll hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.] ... so working people can't cast their vote after their shift is over ..." "So, Ms. Patrick, would you characterize this statement by President Biden as misinformation or disinformation or malinformation?"

Admitting the president's statement wasn't true, she nevertheless said she doesn't "ascribe motivations to individual statements by anyone" — despite what she'd said earlier — and is "not a specialist in Georgia law."

"The doublespeak here is shocking," Hagerty said, "but the motivation I think is clear: It's to inflame. I think it's shameful."

Even more than the early voting tenets, though, the one that keeps making the rounds is that food and drink are forbidden in Georgia election lines, as if people had previously waited there because they were fast-food lines.

The truth? Voters can bring their own food and drink, poll workers can pass out water, and the electioneering (with passed-out refreshments) that Georgia legislators wanted to stop can continue, as long as it is 150 feet from the polling places.

We bring this up because it's incumbent upon Republicans like Hagerty to continue to counter widespread obfuscations with facts. Americans will be barraged over the next six months with candidates trying to change the subject. To wit:

Voter: How can we get ahead when inflation is eating up any raises we get?

Candidate: Say, did you see they're trying to get Donald Trump's children in front of a New York grand jury?

Voter: How can we stop the people flooding over our Southern border?

Candidate: Say, did you hear some Republicans didn't vote for giving Ukraine more money to fight Russia?

Voter: How is allowing transitioning men to participate in women's sports fair to other women?

Candidate: Say, did you hear some Republicans want to pass a law to ban abortion?

And so it goes.

The expression that a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes is never more true than in an election year. With that in mind, voters need to be wary about what they hear, and truth-tellers need to be working overtime.

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