There were so many supremely bad takes and horrifying statements in The Times' Sunday editorial “Purge election rolls” that it boggles the mind where to begin. So let’s tackle them in order:
Deeming it “incessant carping” by citizens justly concerned with election manipulation and voter suppression is a real eye-opening term from a newspaper to describe people who are interested in securing the foundation of any democracy. Wow, I am nearly speechless at the blatant elitism and arrogance contained in this single, opening phrase. But wait, there’s more!
“you would have thought that ... polling places (were being) closed for good.” Fact: 214 polling places have been “closed for good” across Georgia since 2012, leaving at least 15 counties with a single polling place.
“To fail to (clean up the voter list) would result in a chaotic and unmanageable database.” Fact: We have computers now. They can, and routinely do, actually handle huge databases in nanoseconds.
“It often falls upon state and local officials to remove their names ... based on data such as postal addresses.” Fact: This is literally part of the job description for people who work at county elections offices across the country, and in Georgia it is mandated as part of the national change of address process every two years. However, note that updating voter lists to reflect changed addresses and deaths is notably not the same thing as purging registered voters for allegedly not voting. The latter is blatantly unconstitutional and smacks of “we-know-better” elitism.
The outright superciliousness continues by stating voters “might decide to cast a ballot.” It is the pure voice of privilege talking and ignores the multitude of reasons people may not be able to cast their vote.
“If removed from the list, they can register again.” Sure, if they find out in time. This could be a valid argument if we could register to vote at the poll (same day voter registration), like one can in 21 states plus D.C. However, in Georgia, for some reason (voter suppression?), voter registration closes weeks in front of every election. By the time you find out you’re purged, it’s often too late to vote.
Let’s talk voter ID laws, which are intended to sound so reasonable but are actually an acute form of voter suppression. I just had to update my driver’s license even though I am young enough to have no health problems that would impair my driving and none of my personal info had changed. To do this, I had to drive 45 minutes each way to the closest DDS office, bring my passport, a copy of my tax info and a recent utility bill. How does someone with no access to reliable transportation do that?
Re: the “voting privilege,” hi, this is the Constitution speaking: See Amendment 15. Voting in a democracy is foundational to the democracy (From the Greek: “demos”=people + “kratia”=rule).
The arrogance of the closing paragraph defeats my ability to describe.