There’s something awesome about the collective feeling of everyone going to vote on the same day. We see old friends, we visit, and we feel a sense of community.
The problem with this experience is that it leaves people out. I recognize that not everyone has the freedom to be able to vote within that single day. People work long hours. Children get sick and must be cared for. Traffic gets in the way of voting before or after work, and workplaces are too far from voting precincts to vote during lunch.
Early voting makes voting accessible for more people. Since voting is fundamental to democracy, why would anyone be against this?
You might be against it if you know you’re becoming outnumbered by the majority and want to retain your power.
Enter Georgia Republicans. There’s a Senate bill making its way through the legislature that seeks to remove Sunday voting in the city of Atlanta and shorten the number of hours polls are open. This disproportionately suppresses minority vote, which typically favors Democrats.
This issue hits home in Senate District 40, as our current senator, Fran Millar, has a long history of speaking out against making voting more accessible. In 2014, when DeKalb county added Sunday voting hours in a predominately African American neighborhood, Sen. Millar stated, “I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.”
Senator Millar was among the majority of Republican senators who supported this year’s bill when it came up for a vote on the Senate floor.
So, let’s call it like it is. The Republicans don’t want your vote — they don’t want you to vote at all unless you look like them, think like them, or donate money to them.
We can fight this way of thinking and win back our power and voice. There’s an election coming up on May 22. Go vote and encourage others to vote. We live in a democracy, but only so long as we protect our right to vote by exercising that right.