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Letter: If you believe in democracy, get out and vote
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Voters make their way through the line during early voting Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, at the Hall County Government Center. - photo by Austin Steele

If you live in Georgia and you want a legislative body that pursues liberty and justice for all, then fulfill your duty as a citizen and vote.

The United States has a history of voter restriction. There was a time when people with black skin were not permitted to vote. That changed in the year 1870. We didn’t allow females to vote until 1920.

Although we are now living in the 21st century, Georgia’s legislature passed a law last year that any voter registration that does not have an “exact match” with the information on record, then that person’s registration is placed on hold. Using this law, the secretary of state placed 53,000 registrants on hold. According to the Associated Press, African-Americans were 70 percent of that number.

Passing this “exact match” law was intended to prevent voter fraud. Voter fraud has never been a big issue in most states. In many other democracies, their governments automatically register their legal citizens from the information already on record from government agencies.

Liberty and justice for all suggests we don’t use intimidation tactics to restrict voting. Yet in Randolph County the government leaders considered closing down seven of the nine voting places in the county. In Fulton County, the commissioners were found guilty of disenfranchising voters in both 2008 and in 2012. That doesn’t happen in a democracy.

This year in Jefferson County, a busload of black seniors, headed toward a polling place, were pulled off the bus by the county commissioner. Supposedly the act of entering a bus from a county-sponsored senior-center event indicates an illegal “political activity.”

However, I see hope. A recent news item reports that a federal judge in Georgia intends to issue an injunction communicating to election officials that “they shall not reject any absentee ballots due to an alleged signature mismatch.”

If we Georgians want a state that believes in a democracy that provides liberty and justice for all, then get out and vote. Pledging allegiance to the U.S. means you vote.

Calvin King