Tag: elections

Is The Voting Rights Act “Pre-Clearance” Requirement Equality Under The Law?

Georgia is one of a handful states (and counties, townships, or burroughs) in the Union that still has to submit any changes to district boundries (congressional, state, or local) or any changes to local election precincts to the federal government for approval. I recall that our county’s election board was going to move one of the voting precincts from the old fire hall to the newly built one across the street. Unfortunately, they could not use the new fire hall for the 2010 general election because they did not have enough time to submit it to the Justice Department for approval. Insanity.

Take a look at this map (as of January 2008 from Wikipedia):

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Secretary of State to Appoint Non-Partisan Election Reform Panel

Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be appointing a non-partisan election reform panel.  The panel will be charged to go and make recommendations on how the state could conduct our elections more efficiently:

He made a brief announcement at the beginning of the monthly meeting of the State Elections Board that he chairs. He told the five-man board and the local elections officials in the audience that the panel will hold hearings around the state for input.

“My thought is we need to look at this as reform but also how can we reduce costs in elections to our counties and to the state,” he said.

Kemp said he would appoint the panel in coming weeks and that it would meet throughout the year. It will make its recommendations for legislation during the 2012 session.

He said he would consult with the major political parties and legislators about who should serve, but he declined to commit to giving a seat to minor parties.

Keep an eye out for the Election Reform Panel coming to a town near you!

H/T:  The Augusta Chronicle

Former Sheriff to Serve Time for Vote Buying

If you have lived in Georgia for very long, you have likely heard some story about so-called dirty elections. Whether that story was some elaborate tale of how the dead rose from their graves and voted for Eugene Talmadge (in alphabetical order) or some local election gone wrong. Perhaps you aren’t aware that Dodge County was at the center of the largest vote buying scandal that has ever been prosecuted – just a few years ago.

You’d really think we would learn our lesson here – and some people have, others not so much. The former Sheriff of Dodge County was caught buying votes in his 2004 election. That’s like the fox guarding the hen house, as my Granny would say. And for his misbehavior, Lawton Douglas was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Let’s hope he doesn’t run into this guy.
Voting irregularities down here are not likely to end anytime soon, but I think the defense attorney in this case nailed the issue:

“To say that voter fraud is a problem in our district, in our circuit, is an understatement, from the municipal level up to some of the county offices, if not higher. … It cheapens the process. We have a pretty hard time getting good people to run for office in our little town.”

This isn’t the sort of press central Georgia needs. And this isn’t an anomaly – these problems have happened here before and after all that fallout they continue. You can read the full story in the Macon Telegraph.

Hines endorses Chapman

This isn’t about Ketchup and Chapstich. We are getting word that former State School Superintendent Candidate Roger Hines has endorsed Senator Jeff Chapman for Governor. Normally I refrain from posting items from the tipline that I can not personally substantiate, but a press release sent via email is more substantive than a one sentence tip.

The email in question can be found below the fold. Hines dropped out of the Superintendent race prior to Kathy Cox stepping down, and was the choice of many who were fed up with Cox. This endorsement can only help Jeff Chapman’s campaign by exposing him to more potential voters.

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Gingrich on Deal

For anyone who can’t remember, Nathan Deal has not always been as he is now. In fact he use to be a Democrat State Senator, serving alongside the likes of Governor Roy Barnes. Many candidates often throw around the phrase “life-long conservative/liberal/Democrat/Republican” as campaign rhetoric – I’m not sure how well it resonates. But specifically in this year, we have seen now two party switchers lose reelection bids elsewhere in the country.

Deal switched over in the 90s, when the Republicans were taking control of the House for the first time in several decades. His campaign put out a video earlier today featuring former Speaker Newt Gingrich – a man who many conservatives consider to be iconic. This video was touted by an email from the Deal campaign.

In a video released Wednesday by the Deal for Governor campaign, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich fondly remembered the day in 1995 when Nathan joined the Republican majority in the U.S. House.

“I was thrilled that day,” said Gingrich, “because I knew with Nathan joining us, we had an even better chance to keep our majority. Remember, we had not been a majority re-elected since 1928 and now we had a chance to put together a team that could really get the job done.”

He called Deal, who rose to become chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, “a real expert on health care.”

Gingrich said that Deal found a home in the Republican party and he enjoyed working with him on conservative issues.

“(Nathan) has consistently fought for smaller government, lower taxes, more prosperity in Georgia, keeping power out of Washington and keeping freedom back home,” Gingrich said.

While this helps to shore up Deal’s credentials with those who might question his Republican status, I find it interesting that Gingrich does not formally endorse Congressman Deal. He dances around the issue, but never hits the nail on the head. At any rate, this video certainly is a good thing for the Deal campaign.

The End of an Era

There will not be another Tommy Irvin for quite sometime – if ever in Georgia. Irvin’s retirement at the end of his current term is not a surprise; we all knew he did not qualify to run for reelection several weeks ago. This past Sunday, The Macon Telegraph featured a nice write-up covering his career.

Georgia politicians come and go, but for more than four decades Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin has remained.

He’s a walking 6-foot-5-inch storybook of Southern farming and politics. He was born to sharecroppers who bartered for what they couldn’t produce, yet he regulated the massive industrial farms that make Georgia agriculture a $7 billion industry. The 80-year-old remained a loyal Democrat even as his party fractured over civil rights and Republicans swept into power.

 Like him or not, there is one thing you can say about Commissioner Irvin – he has stayed put. This is why I say there will not be another Tommy Irvin. So many of our politicians today seem to be seeking office wishing to use that office as a springboard to a future, higher position. The general age of the average politician makes it nearly improbable for them to serve in a statewide position for so long as well. Irvin spent 42 years as Commissioner of Agriculture – that means he was there nearly two decades before I was born.

 Looking at the bigger picture, things in Georgia have changed significantly since days of yore. No longer do we have Senators like Walter F. George, Dick Russell, Sam Nunn, and Herman Talmadge – who, like them or hate them, staid in office for nearly three decades each. (Nearly four for Russell) I have a great bit of respect for most of the candidates running this cycle, both Democrat, Republican, and Libertarian – but I just do not see many of them becoming an institution like these men did and like Irvin did. I think Gary Black will likely  be our next Commissioner of Agriculture and I am positive that he will do a great job for the people and farmers of this great state. But I just do not see him, nor Carter or Powell, as having the staying power of Tommy Irvin. But what do I know, I’m just a low grade political junkie.

Is it really the job of the General Assembly to keep Chester, the Child Molester, from public office? Does the electorate have any responsibility anymore?

Senate Bill 14, which was read and referred to committee on January 12, would seek to ensure that “[n]o person who is on the National Sex Offender Registry or the state sexual offender registry shall be eligible for election to or service on a local board of education.”

None of us are “pro child molester” and I’m in favor of current prohibitions on where they can live, but is this legislation really necessary? What county is going to elect someone on the sex offender registry anyway, since to be on that registry requires a criminal conviction? And, even if a county did want to elect someone who falls into this category to the board of education…isn’t that their prerogative? They could hold office without meeting with children…couldn’t they?

This is equivalent to legislation banning war criminals from being Mayor. Who’d vote for “Himmler for Mayor” in the first place? To be sure, I’m not really moved either way on this issue but it just leaves me with a question as to if this is even needed in the first place. Thoughts?