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Jeff Whitten: Voting doting
editor's notes

I’m a baseball fan, and I probably won’t watch the Major League Baseball All Star game this year.

But to be fair, since I don’t stay up late anymore I probably wouldn’t have watched much of it even had MLB not decided to move its game elsewhere after the state’s Republican lawmakers passed a bill some say not only makes it illegal to vote if you’re a Democrat and of any color other than white, but also makes it a crime for anyone to eat or drink water even if they’re standing in line for 10 days. Yeah, I’m kind of not happy about that either. It’s not fair.

So unhappy was me, I decided to read the 98-page bill, or as much of it as I could without falling asleep, so I could fire off an uninformed 100-part open letter to state legislators and all the talking heads and gubernatorial candidates with my two cents.

I’ve made it to page 5 so far, maybe. I think.

While it’s early days yet, part one of what I gathered is below, in a friendly bite-sized chunk, like chicken liver flavored cat food.

Welcome to voting for dummies. Written by a dummy.

Disclaimer: I don’t even begin to pretend to be an expert. Just a wore out old hack weekly editor whose opinion matters less in such instances than my wife’s, or this newspaper’s dwindling supply of readers, or people on Facebook who know it all already and wouldn’t subscribe to a weekly newspaper if you gave them a free year of Netflix and a new used Land Rover for only $800 a month for 120 months.

Anyway. I’m doing this page by page as stuff from the bill jumps out me. Like, for starters, after a paragraph that clocked in at what I estimate to be about 3,288 words, the Georgia Election Integrity Act or whatever it calls itself says on page 3 or 4 that following elections in 2018 and 23020, “there was a significant lack of confidence in Georgia election systems.”

That’s preaching to the choir, that.

Honestly, however, I more or less figured my vote got counted the way I intended it, but there were some out there who thought otherwise – perhaps because their side lost and the only rational explanation they can come up with is the other side cheated up a storm.

That’s hardly new. Some of the noisier Republicans think Democrats vote illegally, while some louder Democrats think Republicans try to keep Democrats from voting at all, and far as I know both sides might just be right.

Besides, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize neither side’s most diehard members trusts the other side as far as they can throw them. And what with social media and 24-7 news the diehards who huff and puff get all the attention. It’s how that works.

Trust me. Had Democrats come up with a voting bill they could get passed in the General Assembly we’d have a big bunch of Republicans pitching a fit and claiming it allows illegal immigrants to vote 300 times apiece and win a free mobile home and food stamps for a year so long as they pick the candidate with the big D behind her name.

Oh, and QAnon will say your taxes are going to quintuple once a day for a month so the liberals can give illegal aliens free phones and hovercraft tanks to run over your dog with.

Note: I suspect some voters who alleged the system is rigged couldn’t figure out how to operate the new voting machines and punched the wrong button or something, which is understandable. I know people who can’t even log into online banking without pitching a couple fits and having to change their password 14 times.

I admit it took me a little while to figure it out myself and on second thought might have accidentally voted for Mojo Nixon for president. Either that or I ordered an Uber driver.

Actually, I was sorely tempted to vote for Alex Floyd for president. Sorry Alex. I couldn’t figure out how to do a write in.

Anyhow, onward: After that huge preamble or whatever it called itself, the new law starts off with a bang by outlining just how crazy the 2020 elections were, along with promises to level the playing field for all counties as far as funding and requirements. It then says, “elections in Georgia are administered by counties, but that can lead to problems for voters in counties with dysfunctional election systems.”

One might ask how one defines a “dysfunctional election system,” but state lawmakers, or Republicans anyhow, say it’s those counties where people have to stand in long lines, and then it takes a couple days to count the votes while all those partisan groups wants to have sharpeyed observers standing around observing votes being counted.

Wait, that’s not in the bill, or maybe it is.

I seem to remember both of our major political parties wanted to watch votes being counted, which kind of smacks of elitism to me. What about those of us who don’t like either side? And what about the Pastafarians? Or the Fried Shrimp Party, which is mostly made up of stoned short people. We count, too, even if we can’t see over the table.

Actually, I can think of 5 million things I’d rather do than watch people count votes. Maybe that’s why the ones I saw on TV looked kind of like they started out the day by getting up on the wrong side of the bed and their day got worse.

Which I suppose is probably a prerequisite for such important work. Remember, If you ain’t mad, you can be had.

Up next: More on dysfunctional counties and the “lengthy nine week runoffs” that wore everybody out.

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