Hey, America, Stop Tampering With Our Right to Vote

by on July 19, 2021 · 18 comments

in Civil Rights, From the Soul

by Ernie McCray

America.
I’ve so had it with
your evil ways,
especially the way
you make us Black folks
slave away
to just prevent you
from taking our right to vote away,
over-and-over-again
ad nauseam.

And what pisses
me off the most
about this is
you know
that the vote
is our big-go-to,
that it’s
what we’ve used
the most
to survive
the bullshit
you put us through.

And you
play these heinous games with us,
knowing in your rotting soul
that you couldn’t do without
us Black folks
to save your life
not even if you tried,
as you’ve accomplished
nothing worthwhile
as a country
without us
having your back,
beginning back when
we kick started your economy
with cotton sacks
strapped to our backs.

Who has given you
|more songs to sing?

Who has given you
more ways of saying things
with zing
and a touch of bling,
bringing color
to our existing?

Who has given you
more musical beats
and funky rhymes
that compel
you to dance
and have a good time?

What we’ve given you
has spilled across oceans
and touched the hearts
of much of all of humankind.

We’re your very soul,
America,
and your saving grace,
because in spite of your
desperate attempts
of voter suppression|
before the last
presidential election
we showed up
at the polls
in droves
and literally,
with other dark-skinned folks,
retrieved our democracy
from a treasonous
fascist anarchist
espouser
of White supremacy
who has awakened
and rallied
his evil-minded minions
who totally lack
any tendencies
towards human decency,
treacherous people
who have shown
a strong desire
to bring
our nation to its knees.

And they say
that a man’s victory
was won fraudulently?

But we get it, America.

We know
that the tide in our society
is changing
and that,
to you,
this darkening
of our citizenry’s skin
is frightening
and now you’re thinking
that, as you become the minority,
your centuries
of oppression,
might become “karmic,”
that payback might be a bitch.

But if you looked
at your own history
you would cast aside
such thinking,
knowing that the struggle
for equality
for people of color,
has always been about
just that,
seeking liberty,
about “All Lives Mattering.”

So, America,
you stand at a crossroads.
One where you do nothing
as our democracy implodes
taking, with it,|
in the carnage,|
everyone’s well meaning
life affirming
hopes and dreams,
or one where you stop,
since the Constitution
made no suggestions
that we do so,
tampering with a people’s
right to vote,
seeing that as an antidote
to our
racial woes,
allowing us
to build
a more loving country.

Come on, America!
Be what you claim to be:
the “Land of the Free!”

 

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie July 19, 2021 at 10:20 am

Whew, Ernie! Amen! and I’m not even religious.

Reply

Avatar triggerfinger July 19, 2021 at 7:02 pm

Speak for yourself Judi.

You guys really need to pop your bubble and turn off the msnbc and twitter feed every now and then. Here are all those “racist” new voting laws on Georgia designed to keep a black man down. (I challenge you to read them and inform yourself before you grab the pitchfork.)

1. Early voting expands in most Georgia counties

Nearly 2.7 million Georgians voted early during the 2020 general election and the new law will offer more opportunities for early voting in most of Georgia’s counties. There will be at least 17 days of early voting, starting on the Monday that is 22 days before Election Day until the Friday before an election.

The bill requires counties to have at least two Saturdays of early voting, with the option of offering voting on Sundays as well. Previously, Georgia required only one Saturday of early voting. Many of the larger counties, where most Georgia voters live, already offered early voting on two Saturdays, but the new law will expand access to early voting in many of the smaller, more rural counties. Counties must operate early voting from at least 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., but can offer it from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. if they choose to offer expanded hours.

2. ID is now required not just for in-person voting, but also for mail-in voting

Previously in Georgia, a form of identification was required for voting in person but not for voting absentee by mail. The new law requires those requesting and returning ballots by mail to also submit a driver’s license number or state ID number. If the voter does not have one, he or she can submit a photocopy of a different form of identification. The county registrar’s offices or the Georgia Department of Driver Services can issue free state ID cards. When a voter returns an absentee ballot, he or she can also provide the last four digits of their Social Security number in place of an ID number.

3. Absentee voting: New rules regulate drop boxes and shorten time frame for requesting and returning mail ballots

While no-excuse absentee voting has been in place in Georgia since 2005, the state didn’t authorize the use of secure drop boxes as a way to return ballots until the 2020 election, as a response to the pandemic. The new law mandates at least one drop box per county, but restricts where they may be placed and when they may be accessed.

They must be located inside the clerk’s office or inside a voting location and are only going to be accessible during early voting hours, and then closed when the early voting period ends. This is a departure from the 2020 elections, when drop boxes were available 24-7. And there can only be one drop box for every 100,000 voters in a county.

The timeline for requesting and returning ballots has also shortened under the new law. Previously, voters could request a ballot 180 days out from an election. Now they can request them 78 days before an election. Ballot applications must be received by the clerk no later than 11 days prior to the election — earlier than the previous deadline.

State government officials will not be able to send unsolicited ballot request forms to voters. Only voters who request absentee ballots will receive them. Third parties can still send out ballot request forms, but the front of those forms must be marked: “This is NOT an official government publication and was NOT provided to you by any governmental entity and this is NOT a ballot.”

4. Food and drink distribution to voters in line by non-poll workers is banned, but “self-service” water stands are allowed

One of the most contentious provisions is Georgia’s ban on giving voters food or water while they’re in line at the polls. During the primary last June, precincts around the state were plagued by hours-long lines, and voting rights groups were quick to point out that the late spring and summer heat make the ban on distributing food and water especially onerous. Volunteers and third-party groups regularly hand out water on hot days or hot drinks on cold days to voters standing in line.

Georgia had already outlawed campaigns or other groups from distributing or displaying any campaign material within 150 feet of a polling place or within 25 feet of any voters standing in line for a polling site, and the new law now bans giving voters any gifts, “including but not limited to, food and drink.”

Gabriel Sterling, one of the top officials at the Georgia secretary of state’s office, told CBS affiliate WMAZ that the ban is meant to prevent groups from using food and water to campaign within the restricted areas. The law provides an exception to allow poll workers to set up “self-service water” so people waiting in line can stay hydrated.

5. Changes to in-person voting are being implemented to address long lines and reduce provisional voting

Georgia’s new law makes a few changes to in-person voting, including efforts to mitigate long lines and changing the rules around provisional ballots.

If a voter goes to the wrong precinct in his or her county before 5 p.m., poll workers are supposed to direct that person to the correct precinct, rather than directing the voter to cast a provisional ballot. After 5 p.m., a voter arriving at the wrong polling site may cast a provisional ballot if unable to reach correct precinct before polls close.

In November, about 8,200 provisional ballots were cast because a voter wasn’t at his or her correct precinct. Nearly 6,800 of those votes were accepted. Overall, 17,697 provisional ballots were cast in the 2020 general election and 11,781 were accepted.

The law also attempts to address long lines, demanding that counties with any precinct with over 2,000 voters in the last election or one that kept voters waiting for over an hour to vote must create an additional precinct or add more resources to reduce wait times.

6. State election board will have new powers and won’t be chaired by the secretary of state

The five-person state election board will no longer be chaired by the secretary of state, who now becomes a “non voting ex officio member.” GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has been at the center of attacks by fellow Republicans for pushing back against attacks from former President Trump.

The chair and board members will be elected by the General Assembly, giving more power to the Republican-controlled state legislature. But no members of the board may serve simultaneously in the state legislature. And while elected by the legislature, the chair is supposed to be non-partisan. The new law prohibits the chair from actively participating in a political party or organization, donating to a political campaign, or running for public office during his or her service and in the two years preceding the term as chair.

The state election board has new powers over local election officials. It can, for instance, suspend county or municipal superintendents based on performance or violation of election board rules, after first conducting a preliminary investigation and hearing. It may then appoint temporary replacements, but it can’t suspend more than four officials.

7. Results are to be reported faster

CBS News didn’t project a winner in the presidential race in Georgia until 10 days after Election Day, partly because it took counties so long to count the massive influx of mail ballots. There are several new provisions in SB 202 that will likely lead to faster results in future elections. Because of the pandemic, the state election board passed an emergency rule in 2020 that enabled election workers to start processing absentee ballots 15 days before Election Day in November and the January runoffs.

The new law codifies that change, meaning workers will be able to start processing, but not tabulating, absentee ballots 15 days before Election Day for future elections. County officials will be allowed to start tabulating absentee ballots after 7 a.m. on Election Day, but results can’t be reported until polls close. Counties must now report returns from absentee ballots by 5 p.m. the day after Election Day or else they could face an investigation.

The new law also requires election officials to post the total number of ballots cast, including Election Day, early voting and absentee ballots, by 10 p.m. on Election Day. The intent is to provide a clearer picture of how many votes were cast early in the counting process. Under the new law, election workers will not be able to stop counting ballots once they’ve started, so that they can produce faster results. With the new procedures comes a shorter timeline for counties to certify results: six days, rather than 10.

8. Voters may call a new hotline with complaints alleging voter intimidation or illegal activity

The new law allows the Georgia attorney general to set up a hotline for voters to file complaints and allegations of voter intimidation or illegal activity. Georgians may also call anonymously. The attorney general is able to review each allegation to determine if it should be investigated or prosecuted.

Separately, a provision in SB 202 allows a voter to make unlimited challenges to another voter’s qualifications to cast a ballot.

Leading up to the 2020 election runoffs, True the Vote, a conservative group, challenged the eligibility of 360,000 voters, but courts blocked the effort. Allowing voters to make unlimited challenges may bog down election officials and could make it difficult for voters to prove they are eligible when they may have done nothing wrong. The state board of elections could establish procedures designed to make sure that illegitimate challenges don’t place a burden on legitimate voters.

9. Runoff election period will be five weeks shorter

Following Georgia’s high-profile Senate runoffs, which delivered Senate control to Democrats, the state is changing its runoff process. The law still requires a candidate to win a majority of votes to avoid a runoff, but SB 202 abbreviates the runoff period.

Previously, nine weeks separated the general election from the runoff, but the new law now requires a runoff to be held 28 days after the election. The law says early voting should start “as soon as possible” before a runoff, but only requires early voting to be held on Monday through Friday. Some counties may not offer weekend early voting during runoff elections, depending how long it takes to finish work from the previous election.

Because of the shorter period before a runoff election, military and overseas voters will have ranked-choice voting on their general election or primary ballots.

Reply

Peter Peter from South O July 20, 2021 at 9:55 pm

Nice job of copy/paste from a CBS News article, word for word. At least give the authors credit:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/georgia-voting-law-9-facts/
Now, to see an un-sanitized analysis, check out this Vox article, which goes a bit more in-depth to support Ernie’s point:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/georgia-voting-law-9-facts/

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie July 22, 2021 at 9:42 am

Thank you Peter for being on top of this.

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Peter Peter from South O July 23, 2021 at 6:05 am

And thank YOU for ‘fixing’ my senior moment copy/paste accident . . . that second link was SUPPOSED to be to the VOX article. Those who want to do their own research should check out the aggressive poll-watcher rules that magically show up in one form or another in all of these suppression bills. We are SO very fortunate here in California not to have activists following us around and photographing us when we go to vote.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie July 21, 2021 at 10:43 am

Here is a copy and paste from VOX about how the new voting law in Georgia is based upon a lie.
The fundamental truth about SB 202 is this: Its very existence is predicated on a lie. The bill’s passage was motivated by unfounded claims of fraud in the Georgia presidential elections — lies that Donald Trump spread and continues to spread, with the help of both state and national Republicans.

“President Biden, the left, and the national media are determined to destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement after the bill’s signing.

The problem with discussing Georgia’s law solely in the narrow terms of what this or that provision does is that it implicitly concedes that the law is a reasonable enterprise to begin with: that the rationale for its passage is legitimate rather than an effort to further a fraudulent and dangerous narrative.

“The conversation is something like the mid-2000s debate over whether torture works. It basically doesn’t, but to even have that debate is to have surrendered something,” writes Seth Masket, a political scientist at the University of Denver.

The Georgia bill is not merely the sum of its provisions in a country where 60 percent of Republicans believe the 2020 presidential election “was stolen” from Trump through voter fraud — it validates a lie that is corroding American democracy. It also extends and deepens a much older Republican campaign to rig the system in their favor.
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/22368044/georgia-sb202-voter-suppression-democracy-big-lie

Reply

Avatar triggerfinger July 21, 2021 at 12:11 pm

Unsanitized? Sorry but I don’t consider Vox a reliable news source. It’s about as trustworthy as Fox news.

Again…. pop that bubble, it’s only going to suffocate you.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie July 21, 2021 at 1:19 pm

You just got busted for quoting CBS (without credit) and you’re dissing us? You’re being ridiculous.

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Avatar triggerfinger July 21, 2021 at 2:46 pm

I copied and pasted it from CBS, a reliable news source, to counter all the propaganda being parroted. I never claimed this text as my own. Next time I’ll make sure to post the link so as to not give you any undue excitement about it. Now feel free to actually address the content…

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie July 22, 2021 at 9:42 am

So CBS is reliable but MSNBC isn’t?

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie July 22, 2021 at 9:44 am

The Republican legislation undermines pillars of voting access by limiting drop boxes for mail ballots, introducing more rigid voter identification requirements for absentee balloting and making it a crime to provide food or water to people waiting in line to vote. Long lines to vote are common in Black neighborhoods in Georgia’s cities, particularly Atlanta, where much of the state’s Democratic electorate lives. Voting should be made as easy as possible. The harder it’s made the harder it is for people of color to vote.

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Avatar triggerfinger July 22, 2021 at 10:40 am

Let’s start with voter ID. Now i’m no fan of this concept of everyone having to show their papers everywhere they go. That said, how is providing ID a particular hardship for black voters? Are black people so helpless that they can’t manage to get a state photo ID or a social security number? It’s insulting really.

Most of the measures I see here regarding absentee voting seem geared towards getting those mail-in ballots in and counted in a timely fashion, instead of trickling in after the election and taking 2 weeks to determine the outcome. I don’t think that was healthy for the country.

The food and water ban prohibits any person or organization from interacting with the voters close to the polling station. They can if they stay at least 150ft from the polling station or 25ft from the line. Poll workers can also provide self-serve water stations within the polling area.

I agree with the need for more polling places. It looks like they already have a law applicable to that but it isn’t being followed. Lines that long are not acceptable and are discriminatory against people with jobs or young children. Yet state legislatures from both parties voted against a measure to add polling stations. Dems were afraid it would cause too much confusion.

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Peter Peter from South O July 23, 2021 at 6:09 am

“state legislatures from both parties voted against a measure to add polling stations. Dems were afraid it would cause too much confusion.”

Please support your last statement. I cannot find ANY example of this actually happening.

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Judi Curry Judi Curry July 19, 2021 at 3:47 pm

It’s embarrassing to be a white woman in today’s society.

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Avatar Geoff Page July 21, 2021 at 11:13 am

What is that supposed to mean?

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Avatar triggerfinger July 21, 2021 at 12:11 pm

Maybe she should try some blackface to hide her shame.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie July 21, 2021 at 1:17 pm

It is you that has no shame.

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Avatar Ernie McCray July 20, 2021 at 4:27 pm

Triggerfinger. Don’t diminish my people’s struggles with B.S. In all that you just posted there is this to consider: The Republican legislation undermines pillars of voting access by limiting drop boxes for mail ballots, introducing more rigid voter identification requirements for absentee balloting and making it a crime to provide food or water to people waiting in line to vote. Long lines to vote are common in Black neighborhoods in Georgia’s cities, particularly Atlanta, where much of the state’s Democratic electorate lives. Voting should be made as easy as possible. The harder it’s made the harder it is for people of color to vote.

Reply

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