There is something ugly happening in Georgia as Republicans are trying to stop Democrats from registering hundreds of thousands of new voters by launching a voter fraud investigation.
On the eve of the midterm elections—with high profile Senate and gubernatorial races on the line—a group undertaking a historic effort to register tens of thousands of minority voters is all of a sudden under investigation by Georgia’s Republican secretary of state’s office. And the crime doesn’t quite match the punishment.
In a state where party politics often break down along racial lines, the fact that a group that aims to register minority voters is being targeted by Republicans two months before a big election raises red flags. Just two weeks ago, a Republican Georgia state senator lambasted a local official on Facebook for deciding to hold Sunday voting in an Atlanta suburb with a large black population. The lawmaker, Fran Millar, defended his comments saying, “This is politics. It’s not about race.” Racist or not, it is in Republicans’ political interest to make it harder for black citizens to vote.
Democrats started the New Georgia Project, which has registered 85,000 new voters for the midterm election. Other partner groups have registered an additional 20,000 new voters. The majority of these new voters are African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and young people. In other words, all of the people that Republicans don’t want to see at the polls on Election Day in November.
The purpose of the voter fraud investigation is to prevent voters who are more likely to support Democrats from registering to vote. It is telling that Republicans never investigate voter fraud when conservative groups try to register new voters. Voter fraud is the new Jim Crow and the suppression technique of choice for the modern Republican Party.
A new SurveyUSA poll of the state shows that both the U.S. Senate race and the governor’s race are a statistical tie. It is a dead heat in both contests, which means that every vote will count. The polling explains why Republicans are so desperate to keep minority voters away from the polls. Even a slight uptick in Democratic turnout over 2010 could take another big step towards turning Georgia blue.
Republicans can’t win on the issues. They can’t win based on popular support. The only way that Georgia Republicans will win this year is if they make the electorate smaller, whiter, older, and more conservative. There is no voter fraud in Georgia. Republicans are engaging in a desperate last minute tactic because they see the Senate and governor seats slipping away.
When Democrats vote, Democrats win, but first the right to vote must be protected from Republicans who are hiding their racial disenfranchisement schemes behind empty cries of voter fraud.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association