May 22, 2022
Pearl River We all know the warning: don’t poke the bear. Most of us don’t have much of a chance to put that warning into practice, because we aren’t near bears. Those of us who do run into them from time to time, take it to heart. The Georgia legislature may be taught this lesson in the upcoming election after passing a set of well publicized voting restrictions meant to suppress the vote given their huge fear that their red dirt state, might be turning sky blue. Hopefully, its also a sign of things to come elsewhere as well.
Reports from Georgia indicate that “…after three weeks of early voting ahead of Tuesday’s primary, record-breaking turnout is undercutting predictions that the Georgia Election Integrity Act of 2021 would lead to a falloff in voting. By the end of Friday, the final day of early in-person voting, nearly 800,000 Georgians had cast ballots — more than three times the number in 2018, and higher even than in 2020, a presidential year.”
I wouldn’t want to argue that the story is all rosy and good times coming. For example, the Times wrote a good-news story about the turnaround in metro Atlanta’s Forsyth County that had historically expelled Black families and has only grown and prospered by either embracing or finally allowing diversity. It’s not all peaches-and-cream in Forsyth though. Recently, as we’ve discussed, a man took advantage of another questionable feature of that same Georgia voting law to challenge the status of more than 13,600 Forsyth County voters claiming their voter registration addresses did not match the postal code database. Details are sketchy, but it’s hard to assume this was a friendly inquiry as opposed to an effort to suppress the vote there.
Regardless, the voting trend is encouraging, and hopefully will be duplicated in other states as voters become re-energized and rise up to confront voter suppression efforts that we have seen in state after state. The reports from battleground states of the efforts of pro-Trump legislators to overturn the 2020 election coupled with the suppression acts is troubling and a direct threat to any pretense about the vitality of American democracy. The Times found that 357 legislators in nine contested states have made efforts to overturn the election and that they constituted 44% of the Republican legislators in their states. These are the kind of numbers and stories that should have all of us screaming as we wake in the middle of the night.
The only chance we may have is the kind of voting surge that we’re seeing so far in Georgia. Let’s have more of that! Fingers crossed!