Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Things They Don't Want You To Know About Voting in Georgia
Warning! Don’t get so caught up with the candidates for President this year that you forget to do the necessary preparation activities to vote. It’s time to prepare for casting that all- important ballot on Tuesday, November 8.
REGISTERING TO VOTE: The deadline to register to vote is October 11. If you are already registered to vote, especially if you are a first-time voter, you should be checking right now to verify that you are indeed registered and not purged from the list. You can do this by calling the registrar’s office or by going on-line to the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. Alternatively, if you show up to the polls and are told you are not registered, you have the right to request a provisional, or paper ballot. The provisional ballot will then be verified and counted.
FELONS: The best-kept secret in Georgia is that FELONS can vote. As long as you have served your sentence, finished probation or parole, paid all your fines and fees, and it has been five years, your voting rights are automatically restored. You don’t have to do a thing but register to vote. I can hear you now, “That’s not true!” Don’t take my word for it; call your local registrar.
ABSENTEE VOTING: If you want to vote by absentee, the Application for the Official Election Ballot is available now. You can pick the application up or call the Registrar’s Office for one to be mailed to you. Help thy neighbor. If you know elderly people, disabled people, or ANYONE that may need an absentee ballot, pick up as many applications as you need. Distributing applications is legal! The person requesting the Official Ballot must sign the application before it is returned to the elections office. You do not have to have a reason for voting absentee. No one should be disenfranchised because they don’t have transportation, have to work, are elderly and infirm, or are fearful of the electronic voting machines. Historically, the GOP has owned absentee voting and has used absentee voting as a very effective political tool. When Democrats use it, it is immediately suspect.
VOTER FRAUD: This is a favorite topic for Republicans. To hear them tell it, the practice is rampant. The truth is; voter fraud in this country is close to zero. All the voter laws being put forth by red states in the name of voter fraud is actually an attempt to suppress the minority vote. The Courts are playing whack-a-mole to prevent minorities from being disenfranchised.
VOTER SUPPRESSION: We need to be concerned with voter fraud being committed by the GOP in the form of voter suppression. Just last week, the Supreme Court blocked a measure by Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp that would have required voters to show proof of American citizenship to register. The newest tactic of the GOP is to use a computer program called Interstate Crosscheck Voter Registration Program. In an investigation by Rolling Stone magazine, the process was explained. They take the voter lists from each participating state (22 states) and check for duplicate names. (Georgia is a participating state!) Then it spews out a list of duplicates containing common names. For instance, if your name is Washington, there is an 89% chance of being African American. Then duplicates are culled by first names. If your name is Hernandez, there is a 95% chance you’re Hispanic. What if your name is Jose Hernandez? See the problem?
LOCAL VOTER SUPPRESSION: I was perplexed as to why the banner headline last week in the Monroe County Reporter was “Did Calloway rig ‘ll election?” This article written by Will Davis and was accompanied by a large picture of James Calloway.
*As a disclaimer, I don’t know Mr. Calloway from a sack of salt. I did not follow this story back in 201l. I have no knowledge of his bribery charges or character. My observations are based only on the contents of this article.
I read this article no less than ten times trying to determine what was in the article to warrant such a shout out to readers. Further, the picture on the continued page of the article shows pictures of envelopes with postage stamps and pictures identified as “Absentee ballots.” An examination with a magnifying glass reveals these pictures were actually of Application for Official Absentee Ballot. Very misleading! According to Georgia Election Law, that, in it’s self is NOT a violation. The FBI has closed the case. The District Attorney pointed out the statute of limitations has expired. However, it was pointed out in the article that the Secretary of State can investigate a complaint at any time. I then heard the dog-whistle loud and clear! This story was only meant to be a reminder to the minority population in this community that if you vote, especially by absentee, you may be subject to an investigation, thus inducing fear in these voters. Republican Secretary of State, Brian Kemp would really like to do that for you, Mr. Davis.