Monday, December 5, 2011

New Elections Law Could Save The CABAL by Suppressing Voter Turn-out

Monday Dec. 5th, 2011
The Outsider

UPDATE!! It was reported today February 24, 2012 that a bill sponsored by Stat Rep Barbara Sims (R. Augusta) has passed the House that will officially move Augusta Commission races to the July primary.
Read the Augusta Chronicle Article Here: House Votes to Move Elections to July

If you haven't read Georgia House Bill 158 (included at the bottom of this article), which was enacted into law during this past General Assembly session , you really ought to because it will have major ramifications for commission and other non-partisan elections in Augusta-Richmond County.

What this new law will effectively do is take all non-partisan races off the General Election ballot (held on the first Tuesday in November) in consolidated local governments and place them on the General Primary Ballot in July.

What that means is that Augusta-Richmond County commissioners, the mayor,  and school board members will be elected  in July instead of November.

Suppressing Voter Turnout
Many people fear that this change will drastically suppress voter turnout for key local races. With July being the height of mid-summer vacation season, it historically has much lower turn-out than the General Election where high profile state and national offices appear on the ballot such as The President, Governor, Senators, and House of Representatives. Also, black voters have an historically lower turnout  in mid-summer primary elections versus the General Elections, and some fear that this law is an effort to further suppress black turnout in these local races.

The last census showed gains for blacks in Augusta-Richmond County and the new redistricting map  for commission and school board districts that was approved in committee last week and goes before the full commission tomorrow could change the balance of power. District 1 looks very likely to flip, and District 6 could possibly flip as well, with the black population increasing by almost 10% in that newly drawn district. At the very least, it appears that the balance of power could return to a 5-5 racial split as it was prior to 2010. However, if District 6 also flips in favor of a black candidate, then it would be the first time since the consolidated government took effect that blacks held the majority on the commission. It would be a complete role reversal from what currently exists. many observers say that it is only a matter of time, a couple of election cycles, before this happens.

But HB-158 could neutralize the new electoral advantage for blacks in Augusta-Richmond County by moving the elections to the lower turnout mid-summer general primary ballot, when black voters are less likely to show up at the polls.

The new law would also move up qualifying dates from June to April and create a new Non Partisan Election Ballot that would appear at the bottom of the general party primary ballot. Voters who do not wish  to vote in any of the party primaries could request just the Non Partisan ballot. But this set-up still could be confusing to some voters, mingling non partisan races on  party primary ballots.

Back Door Way of Ending Non-Partisan Races in Augusta
There of course is a fix for this dilemma but it's one that many people may not want to stomach. These changes in local non partisan elections only effects consolidated governments, which so far there are three in Georgia. Augusta-Richmond County, Athens-Clarke County, and Columbus-Muscogee County. If these consolidated governments want to continue to hold their local races on the November General Election Ballot then they will have to make those races partisan.

That would mean to run for commission, mayor, or school board, candidates would have to run under a party label or qualify to run as an Independent. This would also open up a primary process for candidates competing for party nominations for local races. Independents and third parties fear that with local races being dominated by the two major parties and making the rules, they will be left out of the process. Either way, there's not an easy solution. Commissioner Joe Bowles has called the whole idea of moving local non-partisan races to July as "stupid", and he probably will have many people agreeing with him. However, for those fearing that the demographic shift in Augusta will usher in a new ruling majority, HB-158 could be their salvation to hold on to power. In fact one would almost think that HB-158 was written specifically with The Augusta CABAL in mind.****

UPDATE!! It was reported today February 24, 2012 that a bill sponsored by Stat Rep Barbara Sims (R. Augusta) has passed the House that will officially move Augusta Commission races to the July primary.
Read the Augusta Chronicle Article Here: House Votes to Move Elections to July

View HB-158 (Now Law) Below:

***Do you have a story idea, a tip, or would you like to write for City Stink? Then please contact us at:***
Share this on Facebook by clicking the icon below


Faith-n-Freedom said...

Ok I get that moving these elections "could" result in lower turn out. It could also give folks the opportunity to actually take a good look at these local elections instead of having them be over shadowed, and swayed by state and national elections. In short there may be less voters but they will likely be more informed and not just shooting in the dark.

I however dismiss out of hand the notion that this change of date "suppresses the black vote". How is that logical? How can black people, or any other ethnicity for that matter, be placed at a disadvantage by a date change? Do black people go into hibernation during that time of year or something? Ridiculous and insulting!

Do you know what else is insulting? Gerrymandering districts to give more power or less to one ethnicity or another. Is not bad enough that it is done for the two political machines that rule our country.....that's not a big enough division and power struggle for our citizens? Now we Gerrymander based on race! What kind of backward Neanderthals are running this thing......the Klan and the New Black Panthers? What's next Gerrymandering for Christian vs Muslim vs Jews?

How have such childish simpletons managed to get so much power and authority in our system?
Americans who love freedom had better wake up before they have us divided and at each others throats over every stupid thing they can dream up, and not paying attention to the fact that we are all being segregated into modern ghettos and picked clean by both the D's and the R's!!!

City Stink said...

Faith-n-Freedom: you bring up some very interesting points. Thank you for your comments. Lookk forward to you weighing in on other issues