Disenfranchisement, Georgia Style

This story originally appeared in Newsweek and was shared on Facebook and other social media sites. It is being reprinted here in its entirety because of the importance of this issue to all of us. As many of our speakers from the Democratic Banquet stated, this is a fundamental right that should not be abridged by those who would deny everyone their right to vote.

This original article is written by Ramsey Touchberry at Newsweek.

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WHY A RURAL GEORGIA COUNTY WANTS TO CLOSE ALMOST ALL ITS POLLING LOCATIONS IN A MAJORITY BLACK COUNTY

The board of elections for a rural, southwest county in Georgia that consists of mostly black voters wants to eliminate all but two of the county’s polling locations just months before the midterm elections because they’re not in compliance with disabilities laws.

During a “courtesy” meeting Thursday night, the Randolph County Board of Elections, a county located near the Georgia-Alabama border, informed residents of the possibility that seven of the nine voting locations would be eliminated since the county did not have time to make them wheelchair accessible before the midterms, according to local media reports.

The seven locations they want to close are not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires wheelchair accessibility to all public buildings. As a solution, one board member suggested voters could still apply for an absentee ballot by mail.  

Randolph County has a small population, 7,000 people, with black people making up 61 percent. The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia said one of the proposed locations to be closed has a 96 percent black population of registered voters. The median household income is just a little over $30,000 per year with a poverty rate of 30 percent, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Leaving the county with just two polling locations in a county that does not have adequate public transportation, ACLU said, would make it considerably harder for rural residents to make it to the polls.

In a letter sent to the Randolph County Board of Elections threatening legal action against the county, ACLU Georgia claimed the timing of the proposal was suspicious because the exact same polling locations were used in recent elections earlier this year and because the first black female gubernatorial nominee, Stacey Abrams, will be on the ballot in November.

“We have expected high turnout this fall. You have to ask, why were these polling places enough for the primary and runoff earlier this year, but not good enough for this November’s election?” the letter said. “The timing is very suspicious.”

Abrams opponent, who happens to be Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, whose office serves as the top election official in the state, said in a statement he was opposed to closing the voting stations.

“As soon as we learned about this proposal, we immediately contacted Randolph County to gather more information,” Kemp said through a spokeswoman. “Although state law gives localities broad authority in setting precinct boundaries and polling locations, we strongly urged local officials to abandon this effort and focus on preparing for a secure, accessible, and fair election for voters this November.”

“If you cut your hand, you don’t chop off your arm. You heal the cut that’s on your hand,” said Sean Young, legal director of ACLU Georgia. “People who don’t have a car, they’re going to have to walk 3 1/2 hours to get to the closest polling place if this proposal goes through.”

The county will vote on the proposed changes August 24, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Glynn Democrats Qualify to Run in Local Races

For Immediate Release

For more information, contact: Audrey Gibbons (912) 242-3664 audreygibbons@glynncountydemocrats.org or Linda Muir 404-444-6757 lindamuir@glynncountydemocrats.org

 

WOMEN RUN IN RECORD NUMBERS

BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA — The Glynn County Democratic Committee announced today that it has qualified candidates to run in eight of the nine partisan races being contested this year. The seats up for election include two races for the Georgia State House, one for the State Senate, two county commission seats and three school board positions. Following a nationwide trend, the majority of those running are women — by a ratio of 2-1.

“Come November, Glynn County voters will have a clear choice in every race in these mid-term elections,” said Audrey Gibbons, chair of the committee.

“Our Democratic candidates are a group of diverse, strong, qualified citizens who enter these races to offer a welcome change to the status quo,” Gibbons said. “Republican incumbents, most of whom have run unopposed in the past, will face serious opposition this year. We expect a wave election right here in Glynn County just as is expected across the country.”

Glynn County Democrats are proud to be part of the nationwide, Democratic movement and of the momentum across Georgia, where we will have strong candidates in every statewide and congressional race.

The Democratic Primary will be May 22, with early voting beginning April 30. April 23 is the last day to register to vote. The General Election will be held Nov. 6.

The newly qualified candidates are:

State Legislature

Jerrold Dagen Georgia State Senate, District 3 Occupation: Community volunteer Residence: Saint Simons Island
Jerrold Dagen – candidate for Georgia State Senate, District 3

Julie Jordan Georgia State House, District 179 Occupation: Educator Residence: Saint Simons Island
Julie Jordan – candidate for Georgia State House, District 179

Cedric King Georgia State House District 167 Occupation: Community relations manager Residence: Brunswick
Cedric King – candidate for Georgia State House District 167

Jerrold Dagen
Georgia State Senate, District 3
We should expect our representatives to work in the public interest, but today more than ever we have politicians pushing political agendas, instead of policies to help people. We need new representation in office, and if we can’t find candidates to support, we have to be the change we want and we have to run for office. I support the state party’s agenda to promote education, the environment, the economy, equality, and voting rights. With your help I will be your next state senator for District 3. Occupation: Community volunteer
Residence: Saint Simons Island

Julie Jordan
Georgia State House, District 179
I have been lucky to call coastal Georgia home for the past 19 years working as a school counselor at Needwood and Glynn middle schools and currently serving as the registrar at Glynn Academy. I want to give voters a choice, another voice other than that of local candidates who continually run unopposed. I want all voices to be heard and the issues of all people to matter.
Occupation: Educator
Residence: Saint Simons Island

Cedric King
Georgia State House District 167
I am the manager of Community Relations at Pinova Inc. and an active member of our community. I am currently serving on several community organizations, including the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber Executive Board, College of Coastal Georgia Trustee Foundation, Coastal Area District Development Authority Board, Glynn County Airport Commission, Coastal Georgia Basketball (Founder), Communities In Schools of Glynn Advisory Board and Glynn Academy School Council. My wife Crystal and I have two wonderful children.
Occupation: Community relations manager
Residence: Brunswick

Glynn County Board of Commissioners

 

Julian "Puddy" Smith Glynn County Board of Commissioners, At-Large Occupation: Retired professor Residence: Saint Simons Island
Julian “Puddy” Smith – candidate for Glynn County Board of Commissioners, At-Large

Barbara Baisden – candidate for Glynn County Board of Commissioners, District 3
Barbara Baisden –
candidate for
Glynn County
Board of
Commissioners,
District 3

Julian “Puddy” Smith
Glynn County Board of Commissioners, At-Large
Glynn County Board of Commissioners, At-Large Post 1
A retired college professor, I spent ten years on town council and eight years on planning boards elsewhere. I have owned a home on Saint Simons Island since 1993 and have attended almost all county commission and Island Planning Commission meetings for last three years. As a commissioner, I would work hard to stop colleagues from ignoring the public and from wasting time and tax dollars. I am married and have three kids and five grandchildren.
Occupation: Retired professor
Residence: Saint Simons Island

Barbara Baisden
Glynn County Board of Commissioners, District 3
Barbara Baisden has taught in Glynn County schools for 25 years. Although she retired in 2010, she still subs regularly around the district. A Brunswick native, she was the first teacher of the year honored at Satilla Elementary School in 1998. “Children have been my life for many, many years. They give me back as much as I have given them.” She thinks it’s critical to give children as much one-on-one time as possible, to find out what their true needs are.
Occupation: Educator
Residence: Brunswick

Glynn County Board of Education

Dr. Markisha Butler Glynn County Board of Education, At-Large Occupation: Regional apprenticeship coordinator Home: Brunswick
Dr. Markisha Butler – candidate for Glynn County Board of Education, At-Large

Dr. Regina Hedgeman Johnson Glynn County Board of Education, District 4 Occupation: Retired teacher Home: Brunswick
Dr. Regina Hedgeman Johnson – candidate for Glynn County Board of Education, District 4

Sharon Robinson Glynn County Board of Education, District 2 Occupation: Retired businesswoman Residence: Saint Simons Island
Sharon Robinson
Glynn County – candidate for Board of Education, District 2

Dr. Markisha Butler
Glynn County Board of Education, At-Large
Leadership is inclusive, and I plan to put the public back into public education. I am a champion and a graduate of Glynn County public schools. I have a personal interest in preserving and improving the quality of education for all. My networking and strategic planning will allow me to forge strong partnerships that will enhance workforce opportunities for students.
Occupation: Regional apprenticeship coordinator
Home: Brunswick

Dr. Regina Hedgeman Johnson
Glynn County Board of Education, District 4
I am a 30-year veteran, accomplished educator, facilitator and trainer in Glynn County schools. I am a community servant, civic leader, parent, and grandparent committed to advancing and advocating for quality, policy-driven education that empowers educators and supports families to positively impact student learning.
Occupation: Retired teacher
Home: Brunswick

Sharon Robinson
Glynn County Board of Education, District 2
A Georgia native, I earned my B.S and M.S. in Education and proudly served as a teacher of Social Studies and Accelerated Learning. That experience, plus subsequent business success, makes me an ideal candidate for the Board of Education from District 2. An avowed moderate, I uphold traditional values while seeking reasonable change.
Occupation: Retired businesswoman
Residence: Saint Simons Island

There will be a get to know your fellow Democrats running this year at our Meet the Candidates Issues Forum, at 7 p.m. April 23 at our new campaign headquarters: 1400 Gloucester St., Brunswick, 31520 (directions).

The Glynn County Democratic Committee, Inc., a Georgia Corporation www.glynncountydemocrats.org, is duly authorized and certified by the Democratic Party of Georgia to qualify candidates to run on the Glynn County Democratic ballot.

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Click here to download a zip file of the candidates.

If you don’t get involved, who will?

Register to Vote Here by Theodore Chen

2018 is shaping up to be a big year for the Democratic Party both nationwide and in Glynn County. Now it is time for you to step up and get involved. Yes, there are many things you can do to help return our country and county to sanity.

  • Make a financial donation to the Glynn Dems so we can support our many candidates running for office locally this year. This involves only a simple click  and the usual credit card information.
  • Volunteer for one or more local Democratic candidates or for the entire party slate. We promise to keep you busy.
  • Host a party for your neighbors to let them meet our local candidates. If you are willing, we’ll help you organize it.
  • Make calls now to help us update our local precinct information. One key to success at the polls is having thorough and accurate voter lists. Help start our voter push this spring by collecting and verifying information about our voters.
  • Canvas your neighborhood to let them know about our Democratic candidates. We’ll have flyers when qualifying for the Primary Election ends in early March.
  • Make sure your friends, family, and co-workers are registered to vote in Glynn County (click here to receive election reminders, make sure you are registered to vote, securely register to vote if you aren’t, and apply for an absentee ballot).
  • Ask five of your progressive friends to join our mailing list by going to GlynnCountyDemocrats.org/get-involved/join/ We’re sure you have friends lurking in the shadows who would like to help make changes to our political scene.
  • Attend our monthly meetings in your voting district and our countywide forum on the fourth Monday of each month. Click here for details about upcoming activities.
  • Send us an email and let us know what you would like to do to help.

Glynn County Democrats

 


Photo credit: Register to Vote Here by Theodore Chen.

Important 2018 election dates

The General Primary is May 22, and the General Election is Nov. 6. Here are all the important dates leading up to Election Day. Please note them in your calendar or add our calendar to yours:

Join Our Team

President Jeb Bartlett (West Wing) pounds his head on his deskDid you wake up the morning of Nov. 9th after the presidential election last year thinking you’d never get out of bed again? Were you depressed until June of 2017? Do you turn on the news each day saying, “What has he done now?” Can you believe that “Trumpism” is taking root in Georgia? Do you want to do something positive and fun to wake up from this nightmare?

If you answered “yes” to those questions, it’s time to join the Glynn Dems Team of Candidates.

photos of elected Georgia Democrats
Glynn Dems are committed to having a Democratic candidate competing for every office on the ballot in November 2018, and you could be one of those candidates. Even if you have no idea what is involved in running for office, we can help you learn and help you get ready. It’s as important to be in the game as it is to win. On Nov. 7th, the morning after the 2018 off-year elections, you will know that you didn’t just sit back and watch our country dissolve into a bunch of greedy politicians passing laws to repay their wealthy donors. You will have fought the good fight, and you might win.

Get involved to make a difference. To toss your hat in the ring, do these things now:

  • Download and read about races open for 2018.
  • Email Linda Muir, Glynn Democrats Candidate Selection Committee, and request a Glynn Dems Candidate Handbook. Let her know you are interested in running for office.
  • Ask the Glynn Dem Candidate Selection Committee to help you find the best fit for you. Don’t worry if you don’t know anything about running. We will help.
  • Click here to review the Democratic Qualifying Packet provided by the Secretary of State.
  • The Democratic Primary Elections are May 22, 2018. PLEASE NOTE: The qualifying period for the primaries is March 5-9, ending at noon March 9, 2018.

Time is running out. Just do it. Do your part to help our county, state and country return to our democratic foundations and to the values of kindness, honesty and equality that are missing in today’s politics. Join the Glynn Dems Team of Candidates. We will have your back. It’s important to our county and our country. And it might just be lots of fun.