I voted yesterday, like I always do without any problems. I went before work and easily parked my car. I walked into the polls and checked in. It didn’t matter that I left my wallet in the car, because I didn’t need any ID. My name was checked off, I was given a paper ballot and I went into my cubicle to cast my vote privately. I marked my choices and put my own paper ballot through a small machine that counted ballots. My sons did the same, even though one of them has barely lived here for the past few years; it didn’t matter. They each walked in without any ID and voted. That is not how the day went for many other voters in this country.
I am a protected voter. I have special whites; I mean rights. I get to cast my vote without worry of being rejected at the polls. I don’t have to show ID. I do not have to prove residency. I don’t need to have an exact match for my signature, which is good, because I haven’t quite landed on one yet, and all my signatures look different (leave me alone identity thieves), and, I didn’t have to sign anything anyway. My polling place is convenient and friendly.
The Governor’s race in Georgia between Brian Kemp and Stacy Abrams is tight, possibly (likely) due to Kemp's multiple attempts to make voting harder, specifically for poor people of color. Abrams the Democratic nominee, if elected, would be the first African American woman to lead any state. Kemp, the current Georgia Secretary of State, has been doing his best to use fear (sound familiar) to confuse voters. Kemp has used his office to assist him in his race. An all American guy, just playing by the rules! He claimed that the Democrats hacked into the State’s system. Guess what? He has no evidence. He has followed Trump’s lead of building fear and confusion as a smoke screen while he flashes his pearly whites and waves. He has also claimed victory in the race, while Abrams said she will not concede till every vote is counted.
Voting rights for minorities in the south was gutted by the Supreme Court ruling in 2013, that decimated the Voter Rights Act of 1965. Many of Kemp’s actions today to suppress the vote are legal now, because of that inherently racist action by the Supreme Court in 2013. But some of his tactics were not legal, and ruled to be illegal by a judge. Kemp was using the “exact match” signature policy to throw out signatures that didn’t have identical hyphens for example. Outrageous that this happened, but it did, and now, we need to do something. But what? We are tired. I mean Betto lost. Betto! Gillum in the Florida Governor’s race, the man seen cleaning up damage from Hurricane Michael, lost to an opponent, Ron DeSantis, who ran an ugly campaign with blatant racist overtones. How much can we take? In the end, when all the votes have been counted, we may discover that Stacy Abrams has "lost" too. Like we "lost" in 2016 when the majority of American people voted against Trump (but that is a whole other story). The three leaders I really wanted, Beto, Gillum and perhaps Abrams, now- down the drain, and I am a white voter, so that is hard to take.
Can we write to someone? Ask John Lewis for help? I don’t know. But we MUST do something. We can support folks who do this work 24/7 and be prepared to work too. Because it is not about my voting whites...I mean rights. It is about the preservation of our democracy. A democracy that did provide a beacon of what is right and just to the world. If you have any money left after all your strategic donations this election season, there are just a few more organizations to support. Also, remember that memberships make great gifts for that “I have everything even my voting rights” person on your list.
Southern Poverty Law Center $25 https://www.splcenter.org/support-us