Memo to Senator Millar and Governor Deal

State Senator Fran Millar.  Photo:  Jon Richards
State Senator Fran Millar at the 2014 Dunwoody Independence Day Parade. Photo: Jon Richards

On Monday, State Senator Fran Millar released a memo condemning interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May for deciding to open several early voting locations, including one at South DeKalb Mall, on Sunday October 26th. Millar’s thoughts were almost immediately spread across left-leaning media outlets, including the Huffington Post and ThinkProgress.

Now, Greg Bluestein of the AJC’s Political Insider brings us the news that Governor Deal doesn’t like the idea either, and thinks that the issue could be addressed in January when the General Assembly convenes. Within five minutes of Bluestein’s tweeting the story, Better Georgia was on the attack:

It’s too late to put this back in the bottle.

In South Georgia, Lowndes County has become the second county to schedule Sunday early voting this cycle. It’s possible other counties may embrace the practice. And my guess is, if the General Assembly tries to change the rules post hoc, Attorney General Eric Holder will have his Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division lawyers knocking on the Secretary of State’s door in a heartbeat.

Georgia left the era of literacy tests and poll taxes behind quite some time ago. While stopping early voting from occurring on Sundays doesn’t rise to that level of discrimination, it certainly doesn’t help a Republican Party that is trying its best to attract minority voters.

It’s no secret that Democrats are trying to increase minority voting strength in an effort to turn Georgia purple. Rather than trying to slow that process down, Republicans should redouble their efforts to increase their voting strength.

32 comments

  1. Ralph says:

    O.K. Who is going to organize Sunday early voting at the Mall of Georgia and Town Center Mall in the northern suburbs that are heavy Republican areas? How about voting at Saturday ALTA matches at the clubs, Little League and soccer games in the Republican suburbs? Lots of churches in the burbs, too.

    That might change Attorney General Holder’s mind.

    • NoTeabagging says:

      Yep, republicans aren’t jumping at the chance to find an an equally alluring venue to attract more of their voters? Wonder why?

  2. Mrs. Adam Kornstein says:

    I think it’s refreshing to hear what a politician really thinks.

    That said.. isn’t the SoS Kemp under some kind of investigation of his own?

  3. Bull Moose says:

    I think Sunday voting is a great idea. The more people that are able to participate in the process, the better for our democracy.

    It’s very unfortunate that Mr. Millar and Mr. Deal feel so threatened by this. As for Mr. Millar, his comments were despicable and it’s rather unfortunate that no one called him out on how wrong and hurtful his comments could be to some in our state.

    • Ghost of William F. Buckley says:

      We usually converge on our opinions, Bull, and your comment may have been made quickly, so I will amplify.

      ” The more people that are able to participate in the process, the better for our democracy. ” The point being made is we need voters educated on the issues – not necessarily educated voters. I foresee a fiery sermon at a mega-church followed by church buses to the Mall to vote.

      In itself , not so bad as long as there are Sunday polling places ALL over the County. The issue come as certain folk just want to be told who to vote for – and they have not educated themselves on the office, issues, or candidate.

      The Blue Team took the Red Team up on overturning Pre-Clearence, turning this in their favor. Verrrrrrrry clevare!

  4. Dave Bearse says:

    I recollect Galloway mentioning the possibility of the General Assembly prohibiting Sunday voting when it was first announced in DeKalb.

    There’s no reason for prohibiting Sunday voting, other than someone’s idea of what WWJD or to reduce voter turnout.

  5. NoTeabagging says:

    This quote from the Deal link above is down the rabbit hole.

    “It’s certainly the departure from the norm. And it apparently has a partisan purpose behind – at least they admit it has a partisan purpose behind it of trying to increase the Democratic turnout,” said Deal. “I don’t think anything that has to do with elections should be tilted one way or the other for partisan purposes.”

    Oh, really? Since when this change of heart Great Partisan Poobah?

      • Dave Bearse says:

        Yeah, because ballot security requiring the establishment of a photo ID requirement due to a handful of dubious ballots, concurrent with loosening restrictions on absentee ballots when thousands of absentee ballots were proven fraudulent beyond doubt, is the GaGOP norm.

        • benevolus says:

          Well when they post a topic about Team Blue saying it should be non-partisan just after they partisan-ly redistrict, you can fire away!

  6. apsmith76 says:

    The original AJC article mentions that South DeKalb Mall is one of THREE early voting locations. Does anyone know where the other two will be located?

    • Loren says:

      The other two Sunday locations are apparently the Tucker Rec Center and the Memorial Drive Elections Office.

      Also, according to a Facebook post from Lee May (I think), other malls, including Perimeter Mall, we’re asked to participate, but only South Dekalb agreed.

      • Loren says:

        Found the full comment, and it was from Lee May, on Millar’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/millar.ga/posts/718236501557052?comment_id=718472674866768&offset=0&total_comments=118

        “Senator, just a few things you have overlooked in your letter. 1. This is not about partisan politics, it is about creating greater accessibility to the polls for all of DeKalb. 2. There is at least a 30% voter drop off during off year elections. 3. There are 3 early voting locations for Sunday voting, not just S. DeKalb Mall (Tucker Rec Center, Memorial Drive Elections Office and S. DeKalb Mall) 4. We made this same request at all major malls in DeKalb, including Perimeter Mall in your District. 5. S. DeKalb Mall was the only one that responded in the affirmative. 6. The last week of voting will have an early voting place in the city of Brookhaven which is in North DeKalb.

        “This should not be partisan, racial or geographical, its about access and that was and is the spirit behind this decision. These are the facts. Sincerely. Lee May”

  7. Free advice to Republicans (and Democrats): When you’re confronted with news of more voters voting, whether they are soccer moms in Cherokee County or black churchgoers in South DeKalb, you say: “The more people that vote the better, because our party has [examples] in common with them and we think we can get their votes.”

    For Republicans, it would be:
    The more people that vote the better. We think that our low tax, pro-family values message will appeal to churchgoers.

    NOT we’re doing everything we can to stop this and we need more “educated” voters instead of black churchgoers.

        • griftdrift says:

          Which is why, even though I know it’s politics, that I’m not particularly pleased at the effort to paint him as a racist. Inarticulate and fires from the hip, yes. Racist. No. Millar is one of those street level legislators that both sides need to actually make things work.

          But hey. It’s politics. The place where people believe the ridiculous is actually normal.

          • Oh its definitely unfair that this is what’s defining his national profile now. My advice is more to the 100% of Republicans who seem to silently or vocally agree with him. Has a single elected Republican tried to put the horse back in the barn? Every public comment I’ve seen essentially starts with Millar’s (again unfortunate) statement and keeps going in the direction he started in.

            • Dave Bearse says:

              He should’ve stuck to a simple equal accessibility argument that could not be effectively rebutted nor would draw any outside attention.

              I can imagine how the situation could be spun in other states, and he doesn’t deserve that.

  8. Noway says:

    They must be truly desperate to win Saxby’s senate seat to do this. Brilliant tactic. If so, the minority vote puts it over the top and Perdue loses. The thought of doing this did not originate in Georgia but from DC, IMO. The 64k question is whether Repubs will propose the same tactic in heavily Repub areas?

          • Well I for one hope they at least try. I don’t see executives and housewives in the northern suburbs who can already easily get off work or arrange their schedule to vote in their precinct on Tuesday waiting in line at the mall.

            I do see the type of people who might look at Sunday voting at a mall as an opportunity to take their kids with them, keep them occupied, do their civic duty, grab lunch, do some shopping and still not have to figure out how they’re going to skip work M-F do to it taking part in this.

            And even in Cherokee county, those people would skew more Democratic than the county as a whole.

    • Will Durant says:

      Even if the law states that you must be given time off to vote Georgia is a right to fire state. Jobs are not growing on trees these days and why endanger your own if allowed to vote on a non-workday? The outer counties do have early voting and I’ve utilized it in Gwinnett once, but DeKalb is the only one I recall seeing folks turned away on Saturday voting days in the past due to lack of poll workers and/or machines. I could be wrong but I can assure you in Gwinnett it was a walk-in/walk-out affair for me. I will probably utilize it for the General again as there are amendments on the ballot and we all know what that means.

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