Sadly, before responding to my op-ed questioning the need for the so-called “Election Integrity Act of 2021, state Rep. Rick Williams (R) Milledgeville stayed too long at the punch bowl filled to the brim with Kool-Aid.
Williams urges the good citizens of Baldwin and Putnam Counties not to trust their common sense when rejecting a law that is based on an out and out “Big Lie.” The law passed by the legislature this spring with the support of Williams and immediately signed into law under the cloak of secrecy by Gov. Brian Kemp lacks — of all things — integrity.
How can a law based on a lack of integrity restore integrity to a voting system that worked better in 2020 and 2021 than any election held in the last 100 years?
There is simply no justification for codifying voter suppression in the State of Georgia. Let’s make no mistake about it; no voter fraud was found during the 2020 General Election or the Senate run-off election in January this year.
“If it isn’t broke,” the adage goes, “don’t fix it.”
There is no evidence that persons voting absentee in past elections have misidentified themselves to cast their ballot — none.
There is not one scintilla of proof that voter drop boxes lead to harvesting votes — none. While the “Election Integrity Act of 2021” codifies the use of drop boxes, it reduced the number of drop boxes available in each county. It also reduces the hours to drop ballots at these locations, which prevents many Georgians the opportunity to cast an absentee ballot due to their work schedules. This portion of the law is unconstitutional because it does not afford equal protection of the law to working Georgians. There was no proof of vandalism or ballot stuffing during the use of drop boxes for the last two elections. This is something Georgia voters do not do and to enact this legislation is to impugn the integrity of the citizens of this state.
If handing out water on a hot primary or General Election day is a crime, then the pigs down on the farm are flying. It is inhumane to deny water to a voter waiting in line to vote. Williams cannot point to one incident where passing out water to a voter has interfered with the integrity of the voting process.
We favor printing ballots on security paper, but the law stops short on providing the voter with a copy of their franchise as a backup in the auditing process.
Williams’ fifth point is part of the “Big Lie.” The Act does not expand weekend voting. It permits the county board of elections to determine if they want to offer weekend voting. Their choices are to either have weekend voting on Saturday or Sunday. Leaving this up to the county is equivalent to eliminating Sunday and the favored “Souls to the Polls” event enjoyed by Black churches in Georgia.
The Act outlaws mobile voting precincts because, as Williams cites, the Fulton County Board of Elections used a bull-horn to encourage citizens to vote. If election officials are not encouraging citizens to vote for a particular candidate, what is the harm in getting more people to vote?
Anyone not drinking the voter suppression Kool-Aid answered with a resounding, “NOTHING!”
On the matter of time for voting absentee, again, Williams resorts to the “Big Lie.” A shorter period to request an absentee ballot and a shorter period to return an absentee ballot does not shore up public confidence. There was never any complaint from the public about the length of time required to apply for the absentee ballot or the absentee ballot voting period. This provision hinders citizens who need to cast an absentee ballot and causes them needless worry and concern about getting it in on time during future elections.
I must laugh at the suggestion that the Act holds State Election officials accountable. It checkmates the Secretary of State. This is after the Georgia Secretary of State refused Pres. Donald Trump’s request to cheat on his behalf.
The previous system worked simply fine until the country elected a President lacking the fundamental integrity to accept his defeat like a man instead of making good public servants lie and cheat.
Moreover, the “Big Lie,” told by the former President, makes former Democratic lawmakers engage in voter suppression on a level unheard of since Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes removed federal troops from the South in 1875.
It’s time for good ole “Yellow-Dog Democrats” like Rick Williams to stop drinking the Kool-Aid of voter suppression and get back to some wholesome “pot-licker.” Drop by the house to discuss this terrible Act, and we will pour you up a fresh brew. Now that’s a dog that will hunt. It is much healthier than the voter suppression Kool-Aid your Republican colleagues are serving.
Floyd L. Griffin Jr.