February 9, 2018 Radio Commentary

Poll Times, Voting Machines & Registration

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, February 9, 2018 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

During this session, the Georgia General Assembly has introduced at least three bills that would affect when we vote, the kind of voting equipment we’ll use, and where voter registration will be held.

As for when we vote, the days won’t change, but the time for polls to open and close will become uniform across the state if this bill passes as introduced.  Senator McKoon introduced S.B. 309 on January 9th to require Georgia polling places for primaries and elections to open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m., whether it’s Eastern Standard Time or daylight saving time.

Also, if his bill passes as introduced, it would include a two-part method for determining how to fill vacancies that occur in Georgia’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives.  The first option authorizes a special election if more than twelve months remain in the term that was vacated.  The second option authorizes the governor or his designee to appoint a successor if the remainder of the term is under 12 months.  If you agree with that plan, call Senator Burke at 404 656-0040 and ask him to pass it out of his committee.

H.B. 680, introduced January 18th by Representative Scot Turner, would return Georgia to a paper ballot voting system.  If passed, the electronic voting system would be replaced with a new system of paper ballots, ballot marking devices especially designed for marking paper ballots, ballot scanners, and automatic tabulating equipment to count votes.Beginning January 1, 2021, all ballots, whether in person, absentee, early voting, provisional or otherwise would be subject to audit.  If you agree that voters need traceable paper ballots, call Representative Rynders at 404 656-6801 and ask him to pass H.B. 680 out of committee.

The third bill is S.B. 320 that would transform public K – 12 schools into voter registration agencies.  Senator Steve Henson introduced it January 11th to require all public schools to give voter registration forms to each parent or guardian at enrollment of the child or whenever student records are updated.

Schools must provide the forms, accumulate completed forms, then send them to the Secretary of State weekly or daily during the last 15 days of registration.  Remind Senator Burke of this: Since schools are not, and should not become, extensions of the Board of Elections, S.B. 320 should be defeated.  His number is 404 656-0040.  For Georgia InsightI’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.