Democrats, writing for NBC News, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and CNN pounced on Georgia’s struggles to hold a primary election amidst coronavirus precautions, George Floyd protests, and a new voting system. This story is really one of perseverance, tough decisions, and the resilience of our local democratic (little “d”) process, but the big “D” Democrats have turned it into a “catastrophe” because it has to be to make their narrative work.
First, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger delayed the March primary until May, then until June 9 when faced with the emergency lockdowns dealing with coronavirus. Then he quickly mailed absentee ballot request forms to every voter in Georgia. This was a controversial decision at the time.
On April 20, the AJC reported:
“Times of turbulence and upheaval like the one we Georgians face require decisive action if the liberties we hold so dear are to be preserved,” Raffensperger said. “I am acting today because the people of Georgia, from the earliest settlers to heroes like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Congressman John Lewis, have fought too long and too hard for their right to vote to have it curtailed.”
Right at the bottom, the article noted that voters would still have to request the actual absentee ballots from their county election officials.
Like all Georgia voters, I got the forms, and completed them sometime in May, mailing them to Fulton County. I never got the absentee ballots in the mail.
Yesterday at about 7:00am, I checked the Georgia My Voter Page (MVP), which after a long delay reported that it could not locate my registration. I tried three times, then went to the polls, figuring I’d work it out there.
When I got to my polling place in north Fulton County, they told me I was registered as an absentee voter. Since I never got the ballot my mail, I had to vote provisionally. Me and about a dozen others on that list (I noted that) by 7:30am had the same problem. I did the mental math and figured with 24 voters per hour, times 12 hours (roughly), that’s 288 voters in my precinct alone who would be voting provisionally. I live in a suburban, relatively low density area compared to downtown Atlanta.
It took me longer to vote (total about 40 minutes, given the line). I got to the polls a half hour after opening and noted there was a technical glitch with one of the machines (I didn’t use the machines because I had to manually complete a provisional ballot). A poll volunteer needed help, and the supervisor was already being pulled in 100 directions dealing with provisionals like me, and other issues with the new computers.
Now, imagine this problem was multiplied across all of Fulton County. It was a mess. But not all of that was Brad Raffensperger’s fault. In fact, Fulton County Board of Elections bears most of the blame, if there’s blame to be cast. The county failed to mail ballots in a timely manner, and failed to notify voters they’d have to vote provisionally if they didn’t receive a ballot.
Perhaps Raffensperger’s investigation will turn up that the county didn’t receive ballots they ordered from the Secretary of State’s office. I don’t know how that part works. I do know this: Georgia’s primary election was not a “catastrophe” as the Democrats claim.
Within minutes of I tweeting that I saw problems at the polls, I was assaulted online by “Fair Fight Action.” This is Stacey Abrams group, funded by a hybrid Super PAC using Mike Bloomberg’s money. Its goal is to flip states like Georgia and claim voter suppression. They act like they are doing some kind of public service or watchdog function (the “Voter Protection Hotline” is a marketing call center), but they are really just building the narrative the Democrats in media are loudly shouting.
The media was pre-positioned to report this, and of course Mayor Bottoms knew there would be issues, so she got right on message:
“This seems to be happening throughout Atlanta and perhaps throughout the county. People have been in line since before 7:00 am this morning,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, tweeted shortly after polls were supposed to open — and in some cases still hadn’t.Georgia election ‘catastrophe’ in largely minority areas sparks investigation, NBC News, June 9, 2020
The word “catastrophe” came from a Democrat activist.
Kristen Clarke, president and CEO of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a civil rights group, called the election “a catastrophe.”
Why would Democrats want to smear and sabotage Georgia elections? I think we know.
That narrative drove the 2018 election, it’s what Stacey Abrams has pounded on, and continues to claim that Gov. Brian Kemp, who was Georgia Secretary of State during that cycle, somehow suppressed the vote. This despite the fact that 2018 saw a sharp rise in turnout among voters favoring Democrats. Overall, Georgia’s 2018 turnout in a non-presidential election cycle was near presidential levels.
Minority and Democrat-leaning voters must be motivated to go out and vote in November. What motivates them is a narrative that they are being suppressed by a system of institutionalized racism. Those new hybrid touch screen/paper ballot voting systems, which were put in place because of a lawsuit claiming the old touch screen systems were racist, must also be shown to be racist.
So no matter what struggles Georgia state and county election officials had to overcome on Tuesday–and those were significant and in some cases, tremendous–Democrats have to pounce and blame the system.
Otherwise, how can Jon Ossoff (who?) have any hope of beating Sen. David Purdue? How can Democrats finesse the “jungle election” coming for Georgia’s other senate seat, currently held by Sen. Kelly Loeffler, and contested by Republican Rep. Doug Collins and Democrat front-runner Matt Lieberman, son of former Sen. Joe Lieberman?
Democrats must have a larger reason to go out and vote in November, besides kicking Trump out of office. Trump leads comfortably by 8 points in Georgia, according to the latest polls, so it’s the senate and congressional races that will pull in voters. And they must care about their vote being counted to want to show up.
This is why, no matter what Raffensperger’s investigation reveals, the Democrats in the media will continue to pounce on Georgia’s elections.