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Opinion: Voting is a right for all, not those The Times editorial board approves of
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Voters wait in line to vote early at the Hall County Government Center on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

Did you know the right to vote is the most mentioned right in the entire United States Constitution? Given its Nov. 3 editorial, it seems The Times editorial board could do with a refresher in high school civics or perhaps a time machine to retrieve them from the 1950s. 

Suggesting that those who have not voted have done so out of a deficit of knowledge or intelligence and that they "probably don't need to be making decisions" is a profoundly anti-democratic sentiment that encourages disenfranchisement of any American the editorial board deems not smart or committed enough to cast a ballot. Fortunately, the right to vote is guaranteed under the constitution. It's not for you to decide. 

Just as it is our constitutional right to vote, it is also our constitutional right to not vote — we live in a democracy. And it's also a bold and privileged assumption that not voting is a choice — be it long lines, language barriers, missing absentee ballots, needing unpaid time off of work, no transportation, there are many obstacles to voting that the well-off and white often willfully refuse to recognize. 

And plainly put, the past has borne out time and time again that voter purges target and remove active, regular voters: in Ohio, nearly 20% of those recently set to be purged were active voters who were simply wrongly included. They disproportionately target voters of color, especially black voters who have the least amount of resources to re-register in the future. 

They have become tools to silence voices inconvenient to incumbent governments, and The Times editorial board has suddenly become a strident advocate for minority rule through deliberately engineered voter suppression. 

"The incessant carping" is an interesting pejorative for grassroots demands that our democratic rights be extended to all eligible Georgians. I suppose it's the same infuriating "incessant carping" that resulted in the Voting Rights Act, or very similar to the shrill, annoying, barely tolerable "incessant carping" for integrated bathrooms and bus seats. It must be so difficult to tolerate "the incessant carping" from those unruly masses that refuse to shut up and fight over the democratic scraps that the editorial board so graciously provides them. 

Voting is a right, not a privilege. It is a right fought for in blood and a right that has cost human lives. It is not a "privilege" to be granted to whomever is the most palatable to the whims of the The Times editorial board. 

Your editorial harkens back to poll taxes and literacy tests, wishing for a time when the right to vote could only apply to those people whose voices agreed with yours.

Or perhaps I can put it in words the editorial board could more easily understand: truth is, if the board isn't willing to be involved enough in the process to make sure voting rights aren't being abused and votes suppressed, you probably don't need to be making decisions about who can vote for public office anyway.

Marti Carver

Dahlonega

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