Thursday, October 30, 2008
Karen Handel, Georgia's Secretary of State, for her brilliant performance of psuedo-objectivity mixed with a Fox Newsian flair!
Yesterday, we discussed how, even though some Georgia voters were forced to wait four to eight hours to vote early, Handel refused to extend the hours for early voting, as requested by the Georgia Democratic Party.
The Atlanta-Journal Constitution's Board, in turn, penned an editorial lambasting Handel's decision:
The long lines of Georgians going to the polls early —- many in metro Atlanta are waiting three or more hours in line —- suggest a huge turnout that ought to be cause for celebration. And state and local election officials should be making every effort to accommodate citizens who obviously want to exercise their country’s most sacred right. [...]
In recent years, the Georgia GOP has conducted a unholy campaign to make voting as difficult as possible by enacting a rigid voter ID law —- despite virtually no evidence of voter fraud at the polls. Already in this campaign season, Senate President Pro tem Eric Johnson (R-Savannah) has opined that early voting was a "mistake" and suggested the Legislature should enact tighter restrictions on it.
Katherine Karen Harris Handel responds with, surprise!, charges of a liberal media conspiracy:
Taking the lead from the Democratic Party of Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution advocates that Gov. Sonny Perdue and I make up election law just four days before Election Day. As the newspaper is very aware, even if the authority existed — which it does not — Georgia is covered under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which means that any changes in election procedures must be "precleared" by the U.S. Department of Justice before they can be implemented.
Usually, this newspaper is a stickler for following the law and procedures. I wonder what their position would be if another political party made a similar request? I’ll leave that to the imagination of the readers. [...]
Georgians can be assured that my office is not going to attempt to change the rules to accommodate the political whims of groups or newspapers less than a week before Election Day.
Even if Georgia law could be interpreted as requiring DOJ approval to extend voting hours (and that in and of itself isn't entirely clear), there is nothing to suggest that the DOJ wouldn't grant such a request as a matter of course, especially with evidence of unprecedented and overwhelming early voting turnout. But Handel has made no such request to the DOJ. Rather, she chooses to act as if her hands were permanently bound. Georgia's Katherine Harris wannabe recites the standard GOP script that Democrats are engaged in some conspiracy to get voters to the polls.
Well, yes, they are.
It's called "democracy."
Republicans should try it some time.