Democracy Blog.

A blog about democracy.

Oversight & Reform

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A novel idea: fighting voter suppression after election day.

Today, the House Committee of Oversight & Reform sent letters to the Georgia Governor and Secretary of State inquiring about challenges to voting in the 2018 election. Voter suppression tends to be fought nowadays before the election, by striking down voter ID laws and challenging census/redistricting. But Democrats don’t usually follow up after the fact, save for the Conyers Commission investigating Ohio after the 2004 election under SoS J. Kenneth Blackwell.

From today’s press release:

“The Committee on Oversight and Reform is investigating recent reports of serious problems with voter registration, voter access, and other matters affecting the ability of people in Georgia to exercise their right to vote,” the Chairmen wrote.  “The Committee is particularly concerned by reports that Georgians faced unprecedented challenges with registering to vote and significant barriers to casting their votes during the 2018 election.”

County and state officials have closed more than 200 polling places across Georgia since 2012.  

  1. Officials reportedly considered closing nearly all polling sites in one majority African American county, although they ultimately relented after public scrutiny. 

  2. In other counties with significant minority populations, voters waited for hours to cast their ballots, even though hundreds of available voting machines sat unused in government warehouses. 

Reports have found an unusually high number of “undervotes” for Lieutenant Governor among African American voters in the 2018 general election.

This is important because Republicans in Georgia are trying to rush through a new voting system that could be impossible to read: a paper ballot (as we have long demanded) but with an unreadable ISBN barcode to be printed on the ballot. This could be a disaster for democracy in Georgia.