Voter suppression in Georgia

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Dear Editor,

Sen. Josh McCoon, with all due respect, you and I must live in entirely different states. Per many expert sources, Georgia is one of the worst states regarding ease of voting, purposefully making exercising this right very hard for its citizens, especially minorities. I doubt many taxpayers realize this damning fact. But as a state senator who publicly endorsed Brian Kemp for governor, you certainly should.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed overwhelmingly by a bipartisan House and Senate and extended by Congress in 2006. But a 2013 highly political and questionable 5-4 SCOTUS decision (Shelby v. Holder) — by an activist court which ignored precedent and clear Congressional intent — subsequently gutted the Act. Thus, SCOTUS permitted unconscionable tampering with the voting roles by states which had previously been under direct Federal oversight.

From 2012 to 2018, our own Secretary of State used this new-found freedom from oversight to purge a tremendous number of Georgia’s voters, often for irrelevant or suspicious reasons. Brian Kemp accurately says he’s “a politically incorrect conservative,” and said after his primary victory: “We don’t need the radical left telling us how to live, worship and raise our family.” Using his moral self-righteousness as his lodestar, he then set out to make sure he won at all costs … unethically maintaining his elections oversight position as Sec. of State while running for governor.

With Kemp’s winning margin of only 55,000 votes, Georgia’s purging over voters clearly was the key reason Kemp prevailed. More than 500,000 Georgia voters were removed in July 2017 alone (NPR, 10-22-18).

But that was not the only voter suppression measure taken by Georgia local and state government. Kemp also refused to register 53,000 voters, 80 percent of them black (AP, 10-12-18).

That action was taken just weeks before the election and was taken to court.

Voter suppression subverts democracy, period. But, as shown by the questionable Kemp victory, it works for those unethical enough to employ it. It’s up to our legislature to pass laws to ensure that all Georgia citizens have the maximum opportunity to vote. And, it’s up to us as citizens to vote for moral, ethical politicians on every level who will support the rule of law rather than being “politically incorrect.” We have had enough of that in both our state capital and this White House.

Jack Bernard