Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DPG Chair Jane Kidd calls on Karen Handel to extend Advance Voting period

Democratic Party of Georgia Chair Jane Kidd sent the below letter to Secretary of State Karen Handel, expressing her concerns about problems with the advance voting process. With the long lines we have seen here in Bibb County and across the State, Karen Handel should do the right thing and work to extend voting hours so that all Georgians have the opportunity to vote.

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October 28, 2008

The Honorable Karen C. Handel
Secretary of State
214 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Dear Secretary Handel:

I am writing to share my concerns about the early voting process with you. I am sure that you've seen the widespread reports about long lines, six to eight hour wait times, and other major problems at the polls yesterday. As you can imagine, these shortcomings raise serious concerns for the Democratic Party, as I am sure they will for Republicans, Libertarians, and independent voters as well.

We have known for months, since before Georgia's record-setting Presidential primary in February, that turnout would be extremely high. We have known that both the Democratic and Republican parties, their candidates, and even your office itself are encouraging voters to avail themselves of advance and early voting. And, we have known since advance voting began that large numbers of voters are doing just that. I am just mystified that your elections division is seemingly so unprepared for the wave of voters we all knew was coming.

Since the voting process began, our office has received numerous reports indicating that a major source of the problem is that, in many precincts, only two computers are allotted for checking in voters and verifying their identification and eligibility. Beyond the widely-reported problems yesterday with your statewide database, we believe that the number of check-in computers is inadequate. There is simply no reason for voters to wait in line, often outside a polling place with no place for seniors or disabled persons to sit and rest, because the Elections Division failed to provide the necessary resources for a turnout that has been predicted by both the Republican and Democratic Parties, the media, outside groups, and your office itself, to be extremely heavy.

I would also like to commend those county Boards of Elections which showed leadership and initiative by moving to keep early and advance voting locations open later, and opening additional voting locations. But their leadership and initiative is not enough.

No one wants to see Georgia's failed processes become a national news story. But today, it is clear that we are in a crisis, and it is unclear even if there is enough time for the remaining four million-plus Georgia voters to cast their votes in an efficient and timely manner. With that in mind, and on behalf of the Democratic Party of Georgia, I urge you to contact the Department of Justice immediately and request clearance to keep the polls open longer during the week and over the weekend, as well as on Monday, November 3.

In closing, I am certain that you understand that the right to vote is not a partisan issue. Long lines at polling locations affect all voters, regardless of their party. I hope you will act immediately and on behalf of all of Georgia's voters to ease the strain at the polls.

With kindest regards,

Jane V. Kidd
Chair, Democratic Party of Georgia

3 comments:

Stephanie Alice Rogers said...

Hi Lauren - I hope you don't mind if I post this here, I couldn't find an email addy. I happened upon this blog while looking for women-centered bloggers talking about politics, and I'm so glad I did. I'm working on behalf of The Feminist Majority to get the word out about John McCain's abysmal record on women's issues ahead of this very important election. We've got three YouTube PSAs, and our website features fact sheets that compare the candidate's plans and voting histories on issues like breast cancer research, domestic violence protection and equal pay for equal work.

One in Six
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fChyeoMJc3U
“John McCain voted against funding to fight violence against women.”

Unholy Trinity
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RFrEzQAOvM
“McCain voted against a program funding breast cancer research.”

Violation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2w7ZZ5huKMk
“John McCain and Sarah Palin are running on a platform that seeks to outlaw a woman's right to an abortion even in cases of rape and incest.”

Our website is http://www.feministsforobama.org

I wondered if you might be interested in posting any of these videos here on Georgia Women Vote! There are so many female voters in Georgia that deserve to have this info before voting!

Thanks so much for your time!

-Stephanie

Tina said...

It would be great if the Advance Voting hours could be expanded.
A problem might be who would pay for the additional staff hours.

Creative Engine said...

it's awesome that there has been this "problem" of long lines all over... people taking a greater interest in public issues is always a good thing