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Election integrity and the Georgia two-step

With the Special Committee on Election Integrity of ten Republicans, four Democrats and Representative Barry Fleming as its chair, we will soon learn the meaning of the Georgia two-step. The Georgia State Republican Caucus met in Athens in December to lament the loss of the presidency, its two US Senate seats and ask what do we do about it? Should they sell their ideas, or make voting more difficult? Looks like the latter by pushing measures that would limit absentee balloting, complicate the voting process and perhaps even move toward making the state’s top election official, the SOS, a post chosen by them instead of the voters. Stop the steal! These shenanigans are particularly disappointing given the pro-voter changes the General Assembly enacted following the 2018 midterm elections. Our Assembly, led by Republicans, altered the state’s voter roll purge process, issued new guidance on how election officials close/relocate voting precincts and handle absentee ballots, and enrolled Georgia in a multi-state voter registration database to help identify voters who move out of state or die between elections. After those two steps forward in voting rights, Representative Barry Fleming of Dominion Voting machine fame and his minions are ready to walk everything back, the ol’ Georgia two-step. The 2020 election showed the wisdom of empowering voters by simplifying the process. Easier access to absentee ballots meant more Georgians voted and shorter lines at the polls on election day. Contrary to what the GOP propaganda machine will have you believe, incidents of fraud were few and definitely not enough to change the outcomes of the election. Yet the sore-loser narrative of the 2020 election must be maintained, and Georgia’s GOP legislators will leverage it to try and protect their majority by attempting to outlaw no-excuse absentee balloting, a law Republicans themselves implemented in 2005. They’ll restrict or eliminate absentee ballot drop boxes made necessary in part by the fleecing of the U.S. Postal Service and will insist on new identification rules for those allowed to submit absentee ballots. If Republicans succeed in advancing an amendment regarding who picks the secretary of state, the next time our top elections official needs to stand up for those who put him or her in office, the integrity of the people’s vote might not be so well protected. Georgians must send a clear message to their legislators about voting rights. We’re not interested in dancing the Georgia two-step. Make voting easier, not harder. Peggy Perkins


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