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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Democrats to fight changes in absentee balloting
Brian Kemp

So blatant and predictable was the response of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and the Republican Georgia state legislators in amending the laws governing absentee ballots in future Georgia elections.

The response was in reaction to the November 2020  election victory of President Joe Biden over former President Donald Trump in Georgia and the victories of Democrat U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Sen. Raphael Warnock in runoff elections in January 2021.

 Does anybody seriously believe that the Georgia General Assembly would have enacted these amendments if the Republicans had been victorious in the presidential and U.S. senatorial contests in 2020 and 2021? The answer is, “No!” What really happened is that the Democrats played the game with the rules for the 2020 election way better than the Republicans did in Georgia. 

As the Effingham County Democratic Committee chairperson, I participated in scores of calls on statewide and district levels. On each of these calls, the need to utilize absentee ballots was emphasized. Likewise, in all my e-mail and teleconference, correspondence, I reminded the committee members on the priority of  voting by absentee ballot.

The results? We did not do much better than we normally do here in Effingham County. Generally, we Democrats received a typical 26 percent of the total vote. This coincides neatly with the three-to-one registration advantage over Democrats by the Republicans.

But there was a significant difference when we compare the 2020 elections to recent elections in Georgia. There were many, many more absentee ballots than ever before, corresponding to the aforementioned advisories mentioned previously.

The Democrats, even here in Republican-dominated Effingham County, secured more votes than the Republicans in the absentee ballots voting tally. I am confident that this fact replicated itself throughout most Georgia counties — that is, Democrats defeating Republicans in absentee voting.

The Republicans realize that they need to reverse this trend, or else, face losing future elections in Georgia. So, in reaction to this, Republicans amended the laws concerning absentee ballots.

They could have decided to do what the Democrats have done — that is, redouble the efforts to get their voters to select absentee ballots.

Why didn't they decide to do this? TOO MUCH WORK! It's easier to amend the laws.

Why amend the laws? Because they can!

While Republicans lost the elections for president and US senators in Georgia, they still dominate in the state legislature.

The reality is, of course, ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES! So what can we Democrats do about this? Fight the amendments legally through the courts, and this process has started as I write.

We must continue to state our case whenever and wherever we can. There is much more to be heard about this throughout the nation, Georgia and even here in Effingham County.

Not everybody will like this letter, but some will, of course. As the great author, Kurt Vonnegut, wrote in Slaughter House Five: “AND SO IT GOES!”

 Yes, it does!

Tony Chiariello 

Effingham County Democratic Committee chairperson