I’m running to be your Governor to bring back hope that all Georgians will have true access to the ballot and will feel confident that their votes are counted accurately.
The right to cast a ballot is the foundation of our democracy. It is the right to choose the kind of country we want to live in and the kind of government we want to lead it. And it is vitally important that all Georgians can exercise this sacred right without even the slightest shadow of suppression.
Voter suppression has been a problem as long as our country has existed. And in the past decade, many states have passed legislation that makes it harder for people—particularly African Americans, immigrants, the elderly, and people with disabilities—to exercise their fundamental right to vote. Some common suppression tactics include voter ID laws and cuts to early voting periods. In 2011, the same year that the HOPE Scholarship was slashed, the legislature voted to cut early voting by more than half – from 45 days to 21 days. As with HOPE, there are those that rationalized a vote in favor of these cuts, but I voted against the cuts because I do not believe we should do anything to decrease accessibility to the ballot box.
After the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision to strip the coverage formula from the Voting Rights Act which had protected citizens in states that had long and notorious histories of excluding African American voters, we must be increasingly vigilant of disenfranchisement.
When the state last overhauled its elections system in 2002, it committed to using direct recording electronic voting machines and eliminated a paper trail of recorded votes. Experts say that a paper trail is crucial in case audits are needed due to hacking or human error, and we need to reinstitute this failsafe.
Further, I have grave concerns about President Trump’s so-called “voter fraud” commission. This commission is spreading misinformation and giving a platform to those who are seeking to restrict and suppress voting rights. As Governor, I will stand up to anyone who threatens our fundamental rights to the ballot box.
We must do everything in our power to protect the accessibility and legitimacy of our ballot box. We should be making it easier for people to vote, not harder. As your Governor, I will work to make sure that every Georgian has fair and open access to our democracy.