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Georgia Secretary of State Sent Letter to Larry David Over ‘Curb’ Voting Law Plot

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The plot from this season’s Curb Your Enthusiasm has captured the attention on the state of Georgia’s top elections official.

The season premiere of the final season for the HBO improv comedy featured star-creator Larry David being arrested for violating the state’s election integrity law for giving his friend Leon Black’s (JB Smoove) aunt (played by Ellia English) a bottle of water while she waited in line to vote during a hot day in Atlanta. Larry (played by David) — whose mugshot invoked Donald Trump’s, when the former president was arrested in Georgia — is now facing a looming trial on the series.

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The premiere storyline has been hanging over the entirety of the final season, which wraps with its series finale this Sunday.

The storyline also must have made its way to the state capitol, because last month Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, sent a letter to David addressing the plotline about the 2021 voting law. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first obtained the letter in a public records request.

“As the chief elections officer for the State of Georgia, we’d like to congratulate you on becoming the first and, to our knowledge, only person arrested for distributing water bottles to voters within 150 feet of a polling station,” Raffensperger wrote, before adding a not-so-subtle jab at Trump, whose mugshot in Atlanta inspired David’s. “We apologize if you didn’t receive celebrity treatment at the local jail. I’m afraid they’ve gotten used to bigger stars. It’s the TMZ of mugshots.”

Raffensperger went on to defend his record and the law (albeit, with tongue planted firmly in cheek), writing that David would be “glad to hear that waiting times for all voters, including Leon’s aunt, in the last two major elections were under two minutes, even as we experienced record turnout.”

And though David’s legal jeopardy remains in limbo, Raffensperger added that, unfortunately, he lacks the authority to give him a pardon — as TV Larry still faces up to one year in prison and a fine of $10,000 for obstructing the election process in the state of Georgia. 

The Curb plot had previously prompted a not so tongue-in-cheek response from Jordan Fuchs, the deputy secretary of state in Georgia. Curb’s executive producer Jeff Schaffer at the time told The Hollywood Reporter he was glad Fuchs was watching, but wanted to make it clear that he thinks it’s a “terrible” law. “I think a lot of people didn’t know that was actually a law, because it seems like something that would not be in America,” said the Curb boss. “And calling it the Election Integrity Act is the height of cynicism. It’s like North Korea being called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

In a prior interview, Schaffer also shed light on how they plotted Larry’s Trump-like mugshot, as well as why they wanted to make Larry a “liberal darling” for the final season.

When they were plotting this season, Schaffer shared with THR that David said, “’You know there’s this crazy law in Georgia where you can’t give food or water to someone in a voting line.’ And he said, ‘I think it’d be really funny if I got arrested for doing that.’ It’s just crazy we took long enough that Trump was finally able to get arrested.”

He continued, “In fact, the [Larry] mugshot at the end of the premiere was never in the show when we wrote it and when we shot it. But as we were sitting around with the strike [delay] and we couldn’t do anything, the Orange Menace got arrested in Atlanta and I told Larry, “You got arrested in Atlanta. That crazy Orange Asshole got arrested in Atlanta. We should do the mugshot,’” said Schaffer, referencing the Hollywood halt amid the 2023 writers and actors strike. “So then we had to wait until the strike was over to even do the photo and put it in the show. I know it seems like that was always the master plan and that we were building toward that, but it’s really just a byproduct of waiting around and it fell in our laps.”

He added that, for the mugshot, they added “too much [bronzer]. And then we had to tone it down. We had to straddle the line of it actually being Larry’s mugshot. But I think we got enough with the scowl that everybody knew what we were doing.”

Read Raffensperger’s full letter, below.

Mr. Larry David

As the chief elections officer for the State of Georgia, we’d like congratulate you on becoming the first, and to our knowledge, only person arrested for distributing water bottles to voters within 150 feet of a polling station. We apologize if you didn’t receive celebrity treatment at the local jail. I’m afraid they’ve gotten used to bigger stars. It’s the TMZ of mugshots. 

Given that Democrats have described the limited ban on food and water in voting lines as a threat to public health, we do hope that Leon’s aunt avoided a tragic death, even though that would allow you to keep those sporty glasses. Moving forward, we would encourage her to avoid long lines by employing the well known “chat and cut,” whereby one engages an acquaintance in fake conversation in order to join that person in line. 

Given the obvious concern you have about access to voting in Georgia, you’ll be glad to hear that waiting times for all voters, including Leon’s aunt, in the last two major elections were under two minutes, even as we experienced record turnout. 

Whether wanted or unwanted, I know you’ve received a lot of attention related to your actions in a Georgia election. Believe me, I understand. And while my powers as secretary of state to perform miracles are often overstated, I’m afraid I lack the authority to grant a pardon — even if you call me to ask for one. 

Yours truly, 

Brad Raffensperger 

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