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Opinion: Georgia deserves better than this election legislation
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Voters line up Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in downtown Gainesville at the former Turner, Wood & Smith building to cast their early ballot for the Jan. 5, 2021, runoff election. - photo by Scott Rogers

To the good people of Georgia, I find it necessary to share with you a story of my family that may meet the times that we are experiencing in our state today. 

As a high school student in the early 1960s, I remember my mother’s attempts to try to register to vote in Dougherty County, Georgia. At that time there was a competency test that Negroes had to pass in order to get the right to vote. My mother was required to write the “Preamble to the Constitution” without missing any words, misspelling any words or missing/misusing any punctuation. 

She tried many times to complete the task but did not get the right to vote until the Voting Rights act of 1965 was passed in the U.S. Congress. 

Now understand this, my mother was a very intelligent person. She worked her way up from “taking in laundry” for White families, working in a restaurant and working in a movie theater to becoming an elementary school teacher and eventually retired as a high school media specialist. 

Now, after all those earlier hurdles have been met to get the right to vote, here we go again. Jim Crow has raised his head again in this state. Black and White people were beaten and killed to earn the right for everyone to get to vote. 

This month, the governor of Georgia secretly signed a new law that makes it harder, not easier for people of color to vote in the state of Georgia. 

This new law claims to “weed out” fraud in elections in Georgia. If that is indeed the design of this new law, I have a few questions for the members of the General Assembly of Georgia who voted for this law. 

How does not giving water to people who have been standing in lines for hours reduce fraud? How does eliminating the number of absentee ballots or “drop boxes” for absentee ballots reduce fraud? 

Georgia’s own Secretary of State, a Republican, stated that the general election of 2020 was free of any fraud after verifying the counts three times. The 45th president of the United States pressured the SOS to find enough votes for him to overcome his deficit to overtake candidate Biden in the presidential election in Georgia. 

That was the only attempt at fraud in the election of 2020 in Georgia. The real issue here is that the Republican Party in Georgia has a deficit of ideas of how to address the needs of Georgia’s changing demographics. 

Our elected officials throughout the state must change, too, to meet the needs of its people. There is worth in us all. Honor that worth. Do not take us back to those times my mother’s generation had to contend with. Our state deserves better.

Robert Thorpe