Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Enshrining Bigotry- Again

I am very thankful for my right to vote, as I am sure you are, but once again, Georgia Republicans are attempting to create barriers for voters, and I suggest that we all contact Sen. Cecil Staton ( cecil.staton@senate.ga.gov ) and tell him what we think about it.

As predicted, Sen. Cecil Staton says that he has pre-filed a bill to allow a vote on a constitutional amendment on Voter ID because he wants to "enshrine" the photo ID requirement for voters in the State Constitution. Actually, the bill gives the Georgia General Assembly broad and sweeping power to require identification for voters in Georgia. I don't know about you, but I would prefer that we enshrine the rights of citizens, not the rights of the Georgia Legislature.

Staton says that he wants to do this so that dead people won't vote. He says that he doesn't want any Georgian to miss their right to vote because of voter fraud. Huh? You gotta wonder whether Sen. Staton participated in the same election the rest of us did last month. It was hard enough to get the living people to the polls, let alone the dead. And, I must've missed the breaking news about voters calling the Secretary of State because someone had already voted, claiming to be them. Remember this is the same guy who was said that people without driver's licenses could just use their passport.

Here you can read the AJC editorial board opinion and Staton's response.

Georgia ranks in the bottom ten states in voter turnout. (I submit that there is a relationship between that statistic and the fact that we rank in the bottom ten states in child and family wellbeing.) So, I am eager for the day when Georgians are so intent on voting that they will commit fraud in order to cast a ballot. I'm not holding my breath.

The truth is that Sen. Staton is driving a wedge issue bigger than his Mercedes. He is already on record saying that he does not expect to win this fight but instead wants to put every member of the General Assembly on record on the issue. As if most are not already on record on the issue. His claims of concern for the integrity of the voting process ring hollow when he makes statements like that to the press, and when he doesn't even bother to address the real potential for fraud with absentee ballots, well, that's just hypocrisy. I'm not in the General Assembly, so Staton probably has little interest in my opinion, but I will never be in favor in enshrining bigotry in our Constitution.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Don't the dead usually vote by absentee ballot? Since absentee balloting is the voting method of choice for the Republicans, it is not surpising that they don't want it tampered with. Perhaps not so coicidentally, it is also the easiest method by far to vote fraudulently.

You are absolutely right about enshrining bigotry, though. And unfortunately, that is quite nakedly the point. You don't hear people allude to busloads of say--nursing home residents--showing up at the polls to vote without valid ID. It was actually alleged in the last election that the Democrats planned to bring in busloads of illegal immigrants to vote unless the voter ID law was in place.

Many times I've talked to folks who are not mean-spirited, just clueless. They cannot imagine what the big deal is. A lack of empathy for how the other half lives is a besetting problem.

Perhaps a connection between making voting more difficult, increased secrecy in the legislative process and rigging the process in the most bald-faced manner possible should be made in the hope that the merely clueless can wake up and smell the erosion of democracy.