No rights denied

Lawsuit protesting May 20 election date has no merit

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Did you hear about the land mines and razor wire election officials are installing at polling places to keep blacks from voting May 20?

You might have thought it true, considering the outcry over Augusta holding local elections during the state primaries next month instead of July as previously scheduled.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the city on behalf of Augusta residents Rep. Henry Howard, Rep. Earnest Smith, Rep. Gloria Frazier, Thomas Walker, Kenneth Martin, Augusta Commission candidate Melvin Ivey and Albert Robinson Jr.

They say moving the local election is an attempt to suppress black voters, which violates the federal Voting Rights Act.

How does holding an election in May deny blacks the same right to vote that they have in any other month of the year?

A U.S. District Court judge fast-tracked the case this week. Attorneys representing Augusta’s mayor and commission have until April 30 to respond; plaintiffs have until May 5 to reply.

In the meantime, absentee voting for the mayor’s seat and commission districts 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 will continue. Early, in-person voting is set to begin Monday at City Hall.

This lawsuit is without merit.

It notes a similar attempt to change the local election date in 2012 – interpreted as a violation of the Voting Rights Act by the Department of Justice. However, the section of the act requiring federal approval of election changes was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.

Then there’s the issue of the plaintiffs’ timing. Shouldn’t there have been at least some clamor when Richmond County announced, last November, its intent to change the election date? Or when legislation enabling the date change – House Bill 310 – sailed through this year’s General Assembly (164-0 in the House)?

Instead, Reps. Howard, Smith and Frazier – the three legislators now suing to strike down the May election date – voted for it in the House. Now they’re opposed?

Make no mistake: Bigotry is afoot here, but not how the plaintiffs would like you to believe. It’s the kind former President George W. Bush called the “soft bigotry of low expectations,” in which segments of society
condescendingly lower the standards for a particular race or ethnicity because of a perceived inferiority.

It’s insulting to insinuate black voters can’t pull themselves together to cast a ballot during a three-week period in May. Isn’t that the same as suggesting they lack the sophistication to obtain photo IDs to vote? Are the plaintiffs’ opinion of black voters in Richmond County really this low?

This lawsuit appears to say more about the individuals pushing the issue than those they purport to represent.

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avidreader
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avidreader 04/25/14 - 05:54 am
7
1
Wow!

Interesting point of view! If seventeen-year old kids could vote, an abundance of my African-American high school students would storm the polling stations. The kids I teach must be a lot smarter than the adults in the community. They're learning great lessons in accountability and responsibility -- "no excuses, just results".

david jennings
555
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david jennings 04/25/14 - 07:05 am
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My thoughts also

The lawsuit says more about the individuals than those they purport to represent

localguy55
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localguy55 04/25/14 - 07:41 am
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See Paragraph 11

"Make no mistake: Bigotry is afoot here, but not how the plaintiffs would like you to believe. It’s the kind former President George W. Bush called the “soft bigotry of low expectations,” in which segments of society
condescendingly lower the standards for a particular race or ethnicity because of a perceived inferiority."

The minority community should be outraged at their so-called spokesmen who purport to speak for them. I give the minority community a lot more credit then this.

Minorities are no different than anyone else. They can think for themselves and they can vote just like everyone else. Do they really want their so-called spokesmen to insinuate that they don't have the mental ability to vote in May instead of July?

Very insulting if you ask me. Minorities really need to look hard at those people who purport to represent them.

ymnbde
9153
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ymnbde 04/25/14 - 07:47 am
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1
why don't "these" people

get as outraged over the poor education their constituents receive?
when a school does not have a single student pass the AP exam
and community leaders are not outraged about it
their priorities must be examined...

Bizkit
29117
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Bizkit 04/25/14 - 07:56 am
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2
It was announced in Nov-this

It was announced in Nov-this is obviously orchestrated from a national strategy. There is nothing discriminatory in changing a date from June to May-it is without merit. If they cater to the black community and change this date wouldn't that be discriminatory? I'd say the ACLU needs to investigate these people bringing up the lawsuit because it seems racially motivated.

corgimom
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corgimom 04/25/14 - 08:39 am
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7
Why change the date in the

Why change the date in the first place? What was wrong with the November election date?

When something is changed, it's not benign, it's for REASONS.

Bizkit
29117
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Bizkit 04/25/14 - 08:50 am
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1
How does changing the day of

How does changing the day of voting suppress black voters-that isn't even isn't logical and sounds discriminatory-i would presume all ethnicities would be equally suppressed from a date change. Augusta is split 50/50 on race why would one half make to the voting booth and the other not-it is up to the individual to vote. If they don't it is there fault-as most voters don't actually vote-Haven't in years.

Bizkit
29117
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Bizkit 04/25/14 - 08:51 am
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3
Obama never gave a reason for

Obama never gave a reason for the giving up the internet, nor a reason for his executive actions to bypass Congress.

Pond Life
16124
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Pond Life 04/25/14 - 09:09 am
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4
"When something is changed,

"When something is changed, it's not benign, it's for REASONS."

And just how are you so certain that the reasons are not benign?

GodisSoGood
808
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GodisSoGood 04/25/14 - 09:12 am
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Ohhhhhh...once again, the

Ohhhhhh...once again, the proverbial trump card is thrown on the table. Why does EVERYTHING have to be about race?!?!?!?!? And why is it ALWAYS the black community that claims to be discriminated against?!?!?!?!?

edcushman
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edcushman 04/25/14 - 09:42 am
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"They can think for
Unpublished

"They can think for themselves and they can vote just like everyone else."
localguy, I'm not so sure. It seems many have been brainwashed and many have had their mind poisoned by the democrats and black leaders. It is a shame most will not listen to leaders like Herman Cain and Dr. Ben Carson. Instead they listen to people that had never did anything like the community organizer.

corgimom
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corgimom 04/25/14 - 09:50 am
2
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Because there is no logical

Because there is no logical reason for it, however, Pond Life, if you know of one, post it.

November has worked just fine for years and years and years.

Why the change?

Bizkit
29117
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Bizkit 04/25/14 - 09:58 am
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1
It is really denigrating to

It is really denigrating to the black community to assume they won't turn out to vote-since 1996 the black community has increased it's percentage of voters every year beating all other ethnicities as an increase in voter participation. They aren't having any problems voting and it is insulting to assume they are "sheeple". "Since 1996, Black voting rates have gone from trailing those of non-Hispanic Whites by about 8 percentage points to surpassing them in 2012". There are voting, but some of the highest densities of blacks and hispanics is the South are in red states which tend to go Rep. A belt of high density black votes carried counties in a belt from Augusta to Columbus Ga (and a few counties around Savannah and Atlanta), but the State as whole went Romney the last presidential election. One of the highest black turn outs ever.

Bizkit
29117
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Bizkit 04/25/14 - 10:07 am
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1
What does "logic" have to do

What does "logic" have to do with govt. Look at the ACA which accomplishes none of the goals intended yet people still want to support this dying beast. Makes no sense-time to go back to the drawing board. No millions insured in ten years-30 million uninsured, no reduction in cost of health care its escalating, no 200 billion in savings in ten years just more debt, less people working cause of wealth redistribution which will decrease GDP, promises of keeping your doctor and plan a lie and the burden of the cost will be middle class citizens-not the rich, then 8 out of 10 physicians tell young people not to go to medical school as well as many are bailing out and retiring. I'd bet a thousand dollars that in the next ten years the population as a whole will be less healthy and not even bother with medical care except for emergency-the goal of preventive will be lost. Just like Obama's policies on energy to deter our usage, his health care bill will do the same and deter people from receiving health care. I know there is no logic to it but such is the case.

dichotomy
30346
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dichotomy 04/25/14 - 10:37 am
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1
Their leadership cannot let

Their leadership cannot let them believe they are equal. They would lose control. They must keep them convinced that there is a Klan wizard behind every door.

Scheduling this election in May has caused more people to pay attention to our local candidates and ballot initiatives than has EVER been paid to them when they were thrown in as "also ran's" with national partisan elections in November. If there is some hidden evil in all of this I don't see it. Everyone still has the right, in fact, are encouraged to vote.

Pond Life
16124
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Pond Life 04/25/14 - 10:45 am
5
2
I get it....since you don't

I get it....since you don't know what the reason is, it must be to disenfranchise blacks. Of course...what was I thinking.

Bizkit
29117
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Bizkit 04/25/14 - 10:53 am
2
2
Exactly Pond-the racists are

Exactly Pond-the racists are always the ones yelling racism-even when there is no logical argument. It isn't even a logical argument: Change a date for voting=discrimination against blacks. What the heck that is just retarded. What about hispanics and asians are they disenfranchised too? Why aren't whites and hispanics and asians being discriminated against too-because studies show blacks are voting more than other ethnicities so the DOJ needs to come a address this discrepancy. You can't have one group being discriminated for or against.

grinder48
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grinder48 04/25/14 - 11:28 am
0
0
Exactly My Thought
Unpublished

Eaactly what I thought when I heard about this ridiculous lawsuit ... anyone eligible to vote can vote in May just as well as they can vote in any other month, there's no racial bias, everyone of every race is invited to vote regardless of their color. The premise of the lawsuit is absurb.

triscuit
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triscuit 04/25/14 - 11:41 am
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1
Perhaps the plaintiff's

Perhaps the plaintiff's candidate for mayor is wanting more time? Would be interesting to see who they are supporting.

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 04/25/14 - 01:34 pm
1
1
localguy55 @ 7:45

"Very insulting if you ask me. Minorities really need to look hard at those people who purport to represent them"

As much as I have addvocated voting on computers, I have to agree with this statement! I believe that elections should be held by what is the least amount of cost to the tax payers! Let cost be the determining factor!

Bizkit
29117
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Bizkit 04/25/14 - 01:36 pm
1
1
A court order precipitated

A court order precipitated the change so Gov. Deal and state officials changed the day. "Early last month, U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones of the Northern District of Georgia put the 2014 Georgia election calendar into a state of disarray when he issued a ruling requiring the State of Georgia to alter the date of its federal elections so as to ensure that absentee ballots can be sent out at least 45 days prior to any primary and general run-off elections that might occur in federal races. The court's order is based on the absentee ballot provisions of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act and the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). Regardless of what happens next, this order imposes changes that voters, donors, and candidates need to be aware of."
There ya go Corgi there is the logical reason.

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 04/25/14 - 01:37 pm
1
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tricuit @ 11:41

"Perhaps the plaintiff's candidate for mayor is wanting more time? Would be interesting to see who they are supporting"

What REALLY NEEDS more time is the newest SPLOST reviewing!

burninater
8847
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burninater 04/25/14 - 01:41 pm
1
4
"I get it....since you don't

"I get it....since you don't know what the reason is, it must be to disenfranchise blacks. Of course...what was I thinking."
-----
And even though there is no evidence that the change was benign, that interpretation is superior to the disenfranchisement interpretation?

That's the point of the lawsuit -- to examine the reason and enfranchisement consequences, if any, of the change.

Thankfully, we have a society that uses rule of law, rather than "cause we said so", to decide significant disagreements.

Bizkit
29117
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Bizkit 04/25/14 - 01:43 pm
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1
They changed the date to

They changed the date to address a real issue of voter disenfranchisement and discrimination of our armed services. So it addresses a real issue rather than a made up one.

burninater
8847
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burninater 04/25/14 - 01:43 pm
1
2
"... requiring the State of

"... requiring the State of Georgia to alter the date of its federal elections ..."
-----
The May election is a federal election?

Bizkit
29117
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Bizkit 04/25/14 - 01:44 pm
2
1
The Obama administration has

The Obama administration has snubbed their nose at the "rule of law" that isn't a valid argument anymore.

Bizkit
29117
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Bizkit 04/25/14 - 01:45 pm
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It affects all elections is

It affects all elections is my understanding.

t3bledsoe
14212
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t3bledsoe 04/25/14 - 01:45 pm
1
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Editorial

"How does holding an election in May deny blacks the same right to vote that they have in any other month of the year"

I was accused by one of the commentors of being a racist. What about this statement?! Why not mention Caucacions, Latinos, Native Americans, and Orientals as well as African Americans?!

burninater
8847
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burninater 04/25/14 - 01:49 pm
2
2
"They changed the date to

"They changed the date to address a real issue of voter disenfranchisement and discrimination of our armed services. So it addresses a real issue rather than a made up one."
-----
The potential disenfranchisement of our armed services looked to be in reference to federal elections in that quote you posted, Biz -- not this local election, which still doesn't seem to have had a clear or mandated reason for the changing of the date.

And I agree, the courts have a robust role in ensuring NOONE is disenfranchised by election law -- armed service people or otherwise.

t3bledsoe
14212
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t3bledsoe 04/25/14 - 01:49 pm
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1
burninator @ 1:43

"The May election is a federal election"

I would recommend that ALL local elections should be held along with federal elections because many more voters vote during these elections.

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