Cox takes heat.

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Cathy Cox is taking heat from the left and the right.Senator Gloria Butler (D-Stone Mountain), a Taylor supporter, criticized Cox for voting to allot $2 million to defend Georgia’s Voter ID bill:

“This vote is a betrayal,” state Sen. Gloria Butler said. “It is a vote against every poor, minority and elderly voter in the state.”

Anger at Cox over this issue was expressed yesterday by several Peach Pundit regulars.

Senator Renee Unterman (R-Loganville) also criticized Cox for her ethics proposals:

Cox is launching “an election-year bid to become the poster child for ethics reform in Georgia,” Unterman said. “This is too little, too late.”

Is Cox’s vote to fund the lawsuit going to hurt her or are these attacks just bumps in the road?

13 comments

  1. Erick says:

    I received some emails yesterday from some lobbyists pointing out that a lot of what Cox suggests be the law already is the law.

  2. Decaturguy says:

    This appropriation of money for defending the voter ID bill is a sham issue created by an increasingly desperate Taylor camp to try to turn black voters against Cox.

    Although she did not support the Voter ID bill, and has repeatedly spoken out against it, Cox is still the Secretary of State, and because of her position as the chief elections officer of the state, she is the defendant in the case, and must carry out state law. If she did not vote to fund defending the lawsuit, who would have paid? Cathy Cox out of her own personal money?

  3. stephaniemills21 says:

    No. This is not the same money. This is Elections Board money only, and a no vote would for all practical purposes would have ended the election board’s role in the case, and the costs.

    Get it right.

  4. schleyguy says:

    But Thurbert Baker would have still defended it, no? I find it hard to believe that Randy Evans would have voted no if he thought that would have jeopardized the bill, which is obviously very important to Republicans and some Democrats.

    It will be interesting to see what law firm gets the $2 million in state money to “help” the state with its defense of this bill. And then what political candidates receive big donations from this lawfirm afterwards.

  5. KatieScarlett26 says:

    Actually, StephanieMills21, the State Elections Board has no budget, therefore they have no money to allocate. The vote, as I understand it, was a vote to urge the legislature to allocate said money to the defense of the law. As DecaturGuy pointed out, Cox is a constitutional officer of the state, and with that comes the responsibility to uphold the laws passed by the legislature, whether or not she agrees with it. The same goes for any other agency head or department director in the state. Furthermore, as any lawyer would tell you, having no money does not, by default, remove one as a defendant in a suit.

    I would suggest that you, too, check your facts before posting.

  6. emily says:

    Randy Evans, as per usual, had his lackies on the board vote the way he demanded. In the meantime, he got to play martyr, which he is making a veritable artform, yet again. If the other 2 “yes” votes were in question, he would not have dissented. The transparency of his politics is laughable. At least Cathy Cox can rise above politics to do what she is constitutionally bound to do. Randy is nothing but a tool of the administration, utilizing his appointment to further Perdue’s need to badmouth Cox as much as possible before the inevitable showdown. Cox puts her money where her mouth is and does the job she was elected to do, even as those with political motives attempt to trap her every step of the way. Hey–what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, yes?

  7. stephaniemills21 says:

    Katie and Emily,

    Just to point out, but Cox isn’t constitutionally bound to vote one way or the other. She certainly isn’t constitutionally bound to pay for private lawyers in addition to the state AG office.

    Yes, the state has to pay for defending the law. That money comes from the AG’s office. They are the lawyers for the state. Now, the SEB, who this money is for, JOINED the lawsuit on their own. (And actually, against the wishes of the AG staff.) Now, Cathy was against this and voted against it in October, as she should have.

    Now, why did she vote in favor of more funding? She had a great justification for voting no: it’s too expensive for the elections board. Randy Evans said it himself.

    I looked at the duties of the state election board and it has nothing to do with defending new laws passed by the legislature. Constitutionally that is the job of the Attorney General. So there is yet another reason for Cox to vote No to break that tie. Any money spent by the election board on this lawsuit is less money they have to educate elections officials, upgrade machines, etc – the sorts of things that the SEB is constitutionally supposed to do.

    I just don’t understand why Cox would vote against the SEB lawsuit in October, and then vote to fund it now. I certainly hope this isn’t a preview of a general election showdown where Cox takes multiple positions on every issue and the Republicans continually set her up to look like a fool.

  8. Cynthia says:

    Stephanie,

    Cathy unfortunately has to uphold ALL of the laws in the state of Georgia not just those that she likes. The voter id law passed the legislature last session and now, as SOS, she must enforce it. It is clear in situations like this vote that she is acting as a representative of the office, not voicing her personal convictions.
    Cathy has been a tireless and vocal opponent of the voter id bill, even going so far as to testify in court against it. To say otherwise is either purposely misleading or incredibly ignorant.

    The biggest problem you seem to have with her is that she does her job responsibly. If only we could say the same about all our elected officials…

  9. emily says:

    Perdue and his folks have stuck the state with legal bills that will probably run over a million bucks. She didn’t vote to pay up because of politics. She did it because it was just the right thing to do. Instead of making maybe the more politically expedient vote and suck up to people in the primary, she did what she’ll do as governor–be a consistent, strong, ethical Leader.

  10. KatieScarlett26 says:

    To be clear, yes, Stephanie, the SEB did indeed vote to be added as defendants in the voter ID suit. However, lest we forget, it was the Republicans on the Board who initially wanted the Board to be added, and the Republicans on the Board who voted in favor of it. Not Cathy. Indeed, it is Cathy who has been against voter ID from the start, not Taylor, not Perdue (even when he was a democrat!). It was Cathy who singlehandedly beat back Joe Burton’s voter ID bill, not Taylor (who had control of the Senate at the time), not Perdue.

  11. stephaniemills21 says:

    Cynthia and Emily,

    you both are confusing the issue. As SOS Cathy has to uphold the law, yes. That means enforcing the voter id bill, if and when it gets approved. This is a measure that the SEB voted to join, and as was noted earlier (katie), i praised Cathy for her initial vote against joining the lawsuit. Her vote to fund the defense against the lawsuit is not something she had to do. It was a choice, plain and simple.

    Someone, somewhere, show me how by voting against the funding she was practicing good government? In fact, I would say it was a poor governmental choice. It is for spending $2 million to continue to be party to a lawsuit that I think most dems could agree is bad policy. She is wasting $2 million that could have been spent to educate children, help small business, etc.

    I dare you to ask anyone on the SEB what would have happened if the vote had gone the other way. I bet, they said the SEB would have dropped their affiliation with the case. Something Cathy was against from the beginning.

  12. Pappy says:

    On the SOS website there is a page about the State election board called “What we Do”.

    http://www.gaseb.org/sebduties.htm

    You won’t find any mention of DEFENDING the laws of Georgia in
    court but there’s a lot of stuff about enforcing them. Obviously there is a big difference between the two (defense and enforcement), and Cox supporters on this page are smart enough to know it (though perhaps not honest enough to admit it). For those who are a still a little unclear, the AG also has a page about what the office does:

    http://www.ganet.org/ago/duties.html

    Cynthia is partially correct. The SOS must enforce all laws passed by the state. However, when a law gets thrown out by a court or overwritten by another law, the enforcement stops – either temporarily or for good.

    On the front page of the Elections Division website it says “A federal court issued an order on Oct. 18, 2005 that enjoined the State from enforcing the photo identification requirements of House Bill 244”.

    Clearly, theirs is not to enforce the law – far from it. At this
    juncture it would be illegal to do so. What they voted to do was join in the defense of the law. The SOS/Labor/Agriculture/Insurance department of the state is not the law department – the Attorney General
    is. Only he is required by the constitution to defend the laws of the state, whether he likes them or not. For all other state officers, defending the law is an elected choice, and, I might add, not one usually made by someone opposed to
    the law in question.

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