I will admit I have grown tired of only seeing liberal letters in the “Opinion” section of the Newsleader, the most recent being “Don’t Retaliate Against Businesses that Speak Up.” Because I can get the same opinions in the mainstream media, my first response was to ask to be removed from the Newsleader’s mailing list.
However, I am going to take the editor’s advice and “Write, Don’t Respond with Spite,” to share a more conservative viewpoint on Georgia’s new voter laws.
I believe that voting is an important responsibility. I want our country to have fair, secure elections and also want every U.S. citizen who is eligible to vote be able to do so if he or she chooses. I think these views are shared by the majority of Americans and we want our laws to reflect that.
In his opinion piece, Mr. Kockler expressed concern about new voting laws in several states that “blatantly seek to make it harder for Americans, specifically Americans of color, to vote.” He also calls the Georgia bill proposal “shameful.” I want to address some of the facts he presented and give you some additional information about the bill before you decide if you share Mr. Kockler’s views.
First, let’s address absentee ballots. I believe that 78 days (about 11 weeks) is ample time to obtain an absentee ballot so I do not see a concern about that part of the bill. It is true that the number of ballot drop boxes will be reduced and moved into government buildings or voting sites so they can be more closely monitored. But keep in mind, a voter may also choose to drop the ballot into any U.S. mail dropbox.
However, I would argue that voting in-person is the most secure way to cast your ballot. This is the best way to ensure each citizen receives one vote, the citizen’s identity can be verified and the ballot can be collected and counted immediately. Georgia’s bill has actually taken several steps to expand access and security for in-person voters. First, the bill requires at least two Saturdays of early voting in elections, up from one. To help keep lines short, the state will be required to monitor lines to see if they become longer than an hour. If so, state officials will need to open additional precincts or provide more help to ease the wait time.
Another area of concern about Georgia’s bill is that it requires voters to show a form of ID which may make voting more difficult for people of color. Georgia accepts 6 forms of ID for in-person voting. A person voting by mail will need to provide ID such as a driver’s license number, a state ID card or Social Security number. I think we need to be careful about making broad assumptions about the inability of people of color to obtain/provide IDs for voting. Most Americans of color are active members of their communities who hold jobs, drive cars and participate in other activities that require a form of identification.
After gathering more information about Georgia’s new laws, is it really a bill that seeks to repress the voting rights of Americans (specifically people of color) or will it protect the voting rights of Americans by ensuring that their vote matters enough to be kept secure and fair? I would encourage those who are upset with the liberal opinions being shared in the Newsleader to do your research and then “Write, Don’t Respond with Spite,” to make sure your own viewpoint is heard!