SoS Handel cannot extend voting hours.

Secretary of State Karen Handel is in the AJC today explaining that she cannot decide all on her own to extend early voting, no matter how badly the AJC and the Democrats want it.

Taking the lead from the Democratic Party of Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution advocates that Gov. Sonny Perdue and I make up election law just four days before Election Day. As the newspaper is very aware, even if the authority existed —- which it does not —- Georgia is covered under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which means that any changes in election procedures must be “precleared” by the U.S. Department of Justice before they can be implemented.

Usually, this newspaper is a stickler for following the law and procedures. I wonder what their position would be if another political party made a similar request? I’ll leave that to the imagination of the readers.

The facts are that Georgia voters enjoy perhaps the broadest ballot access of any state in the nation. Thanks to the 45 days of early and advance voting, approximately 1.5 million citizens have already cast ballots, and this is with the photo ID law in effect. By most measures, this would be considered a success. Even compared to Florida, our voters have much more time to vote.

Moreover, any changes now would introduce prohibitive legal, practical and logistical hurdles to our elections process. Maybe if Florida had followed our lead, Gov. Charlie Crist may not have had to declare a state of emergency and ask counties to stay open longer and over the weekend.

Of course following the law is no barrier to cries of disenfranchisement which have begun by people like Chris Kromm.

Some commentators are waxing nostalgic about the long lines and waits as a sign that democracy is thriving. In reality, they’re a sign that our democracy is broken.

Long lines are a voting rights issue. They disproportionately keep voters who have health problems, or who have work and family responsibilities to tend to, from participating.

The impact is significant. According to one survey, some 129,000 voters in Ohio claimed they were stopped from voting because of long lines in the 2004 elections

Download the PDF file .

; bi-partisan studies estimate 5,000 to 15,000 were disenfranchised in Columbus, OH alone. President Bush won the battleground state — and therefore the election — by 118,000 votes.

Karen Handel’s stubborn intention to follow the law will of course lead to McCain stealing the election just like the Regan did in 1980 and 1984, G.H.W. Bush did in 1988, and G.W. Bush did 2000 and 2004 (do you sense my sarcasm?)

I’ve stood in line in previous elections and seen folks in wheelchairs brought to the front of the line and allow to vote. Does Chris Kromm really believe that sick and elderly are forced away from the polls?
Seriously folks, the State of Georgia has gone the extra mile to make sure everyone who wants too has the opportunity to vote.


  1. odinseye2k says:

    Just out of curiosity – did Crist’s order apply to the four Florida counties that are covered jurisdictions under the VRA?

  2. ChuckEaton says:

    And Lynn Westmoreland was a racist for trying to get rid of the unconstitutional and beuracratic aspects of the preclearance section – definitely some irony here.

  3. Bill Simon says:

    Yet another positive reason why I am SO glad I did not pay the AJC $221.oo to renew my subscription to support their adulation of Karl Marx and his modern-day followers.

  4. Skeptical says:

    I agree with Madame Secretary that Georgia gives its citizens a great deal of time to vote.

    However, I am sure that Madame Secretary would probably refuse to admit that it seems funny that the places that have the 8 hour long lines are areas that are heavily Democratic and they usually have fewer machines or have machines that are usually broken down (and I know this because my MIL is a poll manager in Clayton County).

    I don’t see why we don’t extend these hours to also include the weekends. I am sure that trying to get as many people to vote as possible is a good thing in a healthy democracy.

  5. Icarus says:

    “it seems funny that the places that have the 8 hour long lines are areas that are heavily Democratic”

    It seems funny to me that most election problems tend to come from heavily Democrat areas. Especially when the local governments and boards of elections are run by Democrats.

    The local board determines how many voting machines are available and where they will be deployed. This isn’t a S.O.S. function.

    If the problems tend to only occur in Democrat areas, it should be a good sign on how well Democrats run governement.

  6. Skeptical says:

    Icarus, I don’t live in a Democratic area but the lines are just as long and people are waiting on average 4 to 6 hours. How is it a failing of Democrats when this is a Republican controlled local government and board of election?

    Also, please just this once, in your heart of hearts that you know this is true, just admit that she is a partisan hack and is doing her best to cover the GOP’s butts.

  7. Bill Simon says:


    Glad to see you think it’s only a “partisan” thing when a Republican is doing her job by trying to enforce the law, but you have likely ignored it when Dems lie, cheat, and steal elections.

    Thank you for proving YOU are a pissant Democrat moron.

  8. Icarus says:


    Your first statement seemed to attempt to draw a clear line that the long waits are in Democrat controlled areas, and that somehow, it’s the S.O.S. fault.

    Now you want to say that Republican controlled areas are long too, so therefore, the S.O.S. must be a partisan hack.

    And at least one Republican county seems to have got it right. Fayette County has had over 1/3 of its voters vote already, and they haven’t been experiencing lines like you described, as documented by both local TV and print media.

  9. Skeptical says:

    Bill, its a partisian thing when she is blatantly trying to manipulate the outcome of an election by turning away voters that she knows will vote against the party she belongs to. Do I really need to list the insane amount of examples of her attempts to purge voters, legitimate voters, from the rolls or have certain candidates thrown off the ballot in some races but not in others for the exact same thing (Jim Powell’s race comes to mind), etc. I would also be more inclined to cut her some slack if there weren’t numerous examples of states all across the country with Republican SOS trying the same crap.

    Please provide the examples of Democrats in this state lying, cheating and stealing elections because I’m sure that it is just so obvious and you can’t believe nobody did anything.

    Thanks for proving YOU are a total asshole.

    Icarus, I’m not saying she is a partisan hack because of long lines. I am saying she is a partisan hack because instead of attempting to alleviate a problem that is her job to oversee, no matter anyone’s political whims, she now hides behind the old SOP line.

    And its harder to get answers for licensing issues and the website sucks monkey ass.

  10. joe says:

    I spent 45 minutes voting in Henry County. I don’t consider that a long wait. So far, 49,000 of 108,000 registered voters in Henry have cast a ballot. It sounds like everybody else needs election officials that know how to plan.

  11. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    This is probably the last year for early/advanced voting. Too many Blacks and Deomocrats are (legally) taking advantage of it. We can’t have that going on here.

  12. BlogDawg says:

    She could request clearance from DOJ to keep the polls open for more hours, a request which would probably be granted within minutes of its receipt.

    But she refuses to make the request…says it would tax her poor state employees too much. Ha!

  13. odinseye2k says:

    The InsiderAdvantage board just made an interesting point. If voting stopped now, Dems would be way up. Handel may be shooting her own party square in the foot.

    Mmm … and even admirers breaking out the “Harris” word.

  14. rooney says:


    Agree with you that if a preclearance submission concerns something the Voting Section at the DOJ, i.e., the Democratic Party WANTS, it would be precleared in a number of minutes. However, if it’s not, it won’t. See currently-pending preclearance submission on citizenship verification which has now been there several weeks.

    However, Handel – a member of the Executive branch – cannot simply decide to change the polling hours which have been determined by the legislative branch and then send that change up for preclearance. The General Assembly would have to make the change and then the state could submit for preclearance. I am sure you would agree that if Handel wanted to make the hours shorter than the statute provides, she couldn’t just submit that change for preclearance because she had no ability to change the law. Same goes here.

    Even if she could make the change, the 25 year renewal of Section 5 preclearance provisions mean that we can’t make the change in Georgia without the federal government OK’ing it. Falls into the category “Be careful what you wish for – you may get it.”

  15. shep1975 says:

    One of my hobbies is collecting old newspapers. One of the papers I have is the “Columbian Centinel” published by Benjamin Russell from Boston, MA, who in his paper coined the term “The Era of Good Feeling” to describe the Monroe Presidency. The edition published on Sept. 10, 1791 had this little item from Georgia (which is why I bought the paper):

    From the “Columbian Centinel,” No. 52 of vol. XV, Boston, Mass. September 10, 1791
    Page 2.


    Savannah, July 29, 1791

    We the grand jury Chatham county in the state aforesaid, present:

    I. The election held at Elberton, in the county of Effingham, on the 3rd day of January last for a member to represent the Lower District of this state in the Congress of the United States, as illegal, there being nine votes more than voters, and two of the persons who presided at said election, and certified the return, were not qualified as magistrates agreeable to law; and for other illegal practices, as appears by the affidavits of Capt. Nathaniel Hudson, John London, and Jesse Hill, Esqrs. Christian Dasher, John Wisenberger, John Eigle, Robert Williams and John Moore.

    II. We present James Spalding, Richard Leake and John Goode, Esqrs. presiding magistrates at the election held in the county of Glynn, for a member to represent the Lower District of this state in the Congress of the United States for neglecting to send to the governour the return of the said election agreeable to law.

    III. We present Langley Bryant, Henry Wright, and Hugh Brown, Esqrs. presiding magistrates at a legal election held at the town of St. Patrick , in the county of Camden on the 3rd of January last, for a member to represent the lower district of this state in the Congress of the United States, for neglecting to sent to the governour a true state of the poll after the same was duly executed by said magistrates, as appears by the affidavits of Samuel Smith, Sherrif of said county, Daniel Miller, and John Alexander, superintending clerks at said election, and James Gray.

    IV. We present the Hon. Henry Osbourne, Esq. James Armstrong, and Robert Seagrove, Esqrs. for holding an illegal poll for a member to Congress for the Lower District of this state on the night of the 3rd day of January last, after a legal one had been held, closed and certified; and for certifying and sending to the governour a return of said illegal poll as a just one. We also present Langley Bryant and Henry Wright, Esqrs. for having joined the said Henry Osbourne, James Armstrong, and Robert Seagrove, in certifying the aforesaid illegal poll, as appears by the affidavits of Samuel Smith, Daniel Miller, John Alexander, and James Gray. And we most earnestly recommend to the legislature at their next meeting to impeach every person who is charged by the aforementioned affidavits, or against whom other proofs may appear, for so daring an attack on the liberties of a free people.

    [Signed by James Cochran, foreman, and 15 other Jurymen,]

  16. atlantaman says:

    The fact voting hours are not extended helps the Democrats and hurts the GOP. As InsiderAdvantage stated, GOP voters go to the polls before and after work, which is impossible with the current lines.

  17. BlogDawg says:

    Rooney-that’s my point–she refuses to make the request.

    She didn’t have any problem acting without pre-clearance when she was dq’ing voter registrations over typos.

    Add that to the court beatdowns she’s taken on the Conlon and Powell disqualifications, and she’s clearly basing these decisions on politics.

    Bad news.

  18. ChuckEaton says:

    Since the Powell residency challenge was brought by his Democrat primary opponent, is the SOS’s “political” decision supposed to help the Democrat primary process or hurt it?

  19. rooney says:

    Blog Dawg – I’m not missing the point. To seek preclearance, there has to be a change in the law. There is no change in the law, and she can’t unilaterally change it. She’s not the General Assembly.

    The Justice Department’s only authority here is to preclear (or not) a change in the law (or a rule or reg). There having been none (and no ability for Handel to obtain a change), there’s nothing she can ask the Justice Department to do (and nothing the Justice Department is authorized to do under Section 5).
    As for the disqualification of voters, there was no “change in law” that required preclearance – and the AG’s office agrees. Therefore, the two situations are nothing alike. Both times there’s been no change in the law.

    As for Powell and Conlon, you know those have nothing to do with this issue. Apples and oranges.

  20. atlantaman says:

    From the AJC interviewing folks standing in line:

    “This is a tribute,” said Tversa Ricks, another Clark Atlanta student and march organizer. “We don’t have to worry about dogs or hoses or people spitting on us. All we had to do was use our ID.”

    She must be a very old college student if she’s had to worry about dogs, hoses and people spitting on her while standing in-line.

    Good job on the overall demagoging, but you missed a key point that you’ll learn as you mature from a “march organizer” to “community organizer”: don’t concede how easy and unntimidating it is to produce a photo ID. John Lewis and the Democrat Party of GA want you to believe that producing an id card is the same thing as having dogs and hoses released on you.

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