Georgia Voter Suppression

November 9, 2018

 

Voters Are Being Suppressed across Georgia in the Upcoming Election.

Imagine living in Georgia, and someone wants to cast their vote in the upcoming election for Governor. It’s a very tight race between Republican Brian Kemp, and Democrat Stacey Abrams. According to FiveThirtyEight, the forecasted vote share has Kemp taking 49.7% of the votes while Stacey takes 49.1%.  In other words, the race is tight, so they desperately want to make an impact, but there’s one problem; they can’t make the election. So they send in an absentee ballot, which is sending in their vote early because they can’t make it in person. A couple of weeks later, after the election, they receive a letter in the mail saying the signature on their absentee ballot looked different from the signature on your voter-registration card. An election official threw away your ballot and your vote does not count just because of two signatures that don’t look identical.

But why would something as superfluous as a mismatched hyphen, or a signature that’s not consistent, keep you from voting? Well Kemp, the man running for Governor, and the Secretary of State, is keeping 53,000 voters off the rolls, mostly minorities using this perfectly legal tactic to disenfranchise minorities. Voter suppression is essentially not counting certain people’s votes, and in Georgia, minorities are especially being targeted. Many feel that this kind of suppression has no place in America. Whether it is in schools where everyone should have a voice and in elections where people are exercising their right to decide who the leaders of our country are.

The focal point of the mismatch crisis is Gwinnett County, Georgia, the most diverse county in the state. Gwinnett has just 12% of the state’s total absentee ballots, but 40% of all the rejections in Georgia have happened there this election cycle. Let’s say someone sends their vote in really early, and they get a letter saying there’s a mismatch. Maybe they have time to correct it and may be able to go in person. But some people don’t send in their vote that early and have no idea that their vote was disregarded. According to the New York Times, when canvassing in Lilburn, GA, the group Care in Action urged Kimberly Edwards to look at her husband’s registration as he was rejected from the election. Edwards had no idea, and wouldn’t have known unless the canvassers had come knocking at her door. Her husband's vote would have been unaccounted for.

At City and Country, we value that fact that each member of our community has a voice. In Georgia, that voice is being taken away, and those people lose their right to vote. It’s like having a meeting where some minorities are silenced. Not because they did anything wrong, like commiting a crime, but because the information on their registration doesn’t align with their ballot. Many people believe that Kemp should not get away with how he is keeping people, mostly minorities, from voting without consequence. In such a close race like this, even half a percent of the people can make a difference.

 

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