Freedom Yet Lives in Georgia

TPM, Georgia Governor Explicitly Bans Local Mask Mandates in New Executive Order:

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Wednesday explicitly banned cities and counties from adopting rules requiring masks or other face coverings.

The governor has called mandates to wear a mask “a bridge too far,” the Atlanta Journal- Constitution reported.

An earlier executive order, which was set to expire on Wednesday, had kept in place a months-long ban on local officials from taking more restrictive measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. But the new executive order Kemp issued on Wednesday “suspended” local requirements that require the use  of masks or face coverings in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The news came after Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) announced a statewide mask requirement to take effect on Thursday. Kemp’s move also falls out of step with decisions made by the likes of Walmart and Sam’s Club, who on Monday said they would require shoppers to begin wearing masks.

Just an Old Sweet Song Keeps Covid on My Mind

Chris Smith writes,

Florida has been the national leader in tragicomic political events since at least the Bush–Gore recount of 2000—but lately, Georgia is giving its southern neighbor a run on the weirdness-and-depravity front. There’s Brian Kemp voter-suppressing his way into a win in the 2018 race for governor; claiming, in April 2020, that he had just learned that the coronavirus could be spread by asymptomatic people—and now inviting the Republican National Convention to come to the state this summer. …

“You’re seeing an influx of new voters to the state, but what you’re really finding is white women switching,” says a top Georgia Democratic strategist. “They were solidly, reliably Republican until Trump and Parkland. Those two things have turned those voters. They’re embarrassed by Trump, and I think there’s an argument to be made that they’re also embarrassed by Kemp and Loeffler.” …

Nope. Not the sort of person you want to entertain down at the country club.

And the thought of an August convention/Nuremberg rally in downtown Atlanta—with 50 thousand coughing and spitting knuckleheads closely packed together? Not exactly something calculated to warm the cockles of your heart.

“As a Woman of Conscience and Faith, I Cannot Concede”

Here I Stand

Stacy Abrams writes,

On September 18, thousands of Georgians began casting absentee ballots, determined to lift their voices in the democratic process. A few weeks later, more than two million Georgians voted early. Then, on November 6, more than a million folks arrived in precincts around our beloved state, excited to express their patriotism through the basic, fundamental act of voting.

But this year, our state failed its voters. More than a million citizens found their names stripped from the rolls by the Secretary of State. Tens of thousands hung in limbo, rejected due to human error and a system of suppression that had already proven its bias. The remedy, they were told, was simply to show up – only they, like thousands of others, found polling places shut down, understaffed, ill-equipped or simply unable to serve its basic function for lack of a power cord.

Students drove hours to hometowns to cast votes because mismanagement prevented absentee ballots from arriving on time. Parents stood in the rain in four-hour lines, watching as less fortunate voters had to abandon democracy in favor of keeping their jobs. Eligible voters were refused ballots because poll workers thought they didn’t have enough paper to go around. Ballots were rejected by the handwriting police. Georgia citizens tried to exercise their constitutional rights and were still denied the ability to elect their leaders. Under the watch of the now former Secretary of State, democracy failed Georgians of every political party, every race, every region. Again.

I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election. But to watch an elected official – who claims to represent the people of this state, baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote – has been truly appalling.

To be clear, this is not a speech of concession. Concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede. But my assessment is that the law currently allows no further viable remedy.

Now, I could certainly bring a new case to keep this contest alive, but I don’t want to hold public office if I need to scheme my way into the post. Because the title of Governor isn’t nearly as important as our shared title: Voters.

Make no mistake, the former Secretary of State was deliberate and intentional in his actions. I know that eight years of systemic disenfranchisement, disinvestment and incompetence had its desired effect on the electoral process in Georgia. And as I have for more than twenty years, I will stand with my fellow Georgians in pursuit of fairness. Only now, I do so as a private citizen, ready to continue to defend those whose choices were denied their full expression.

Today, I announce the launch of Fair Fight Georgia, an operation that will pursue accountability in Georgia’s elections and integrity in the process of maintaining our voting rolls. In the coming days, we will be filing a major federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia for the gross mismanagement of this election and to protect future elections from unconstitutional actions.

We will channel the work of the past several weeks into a strong legal demand for reform of our elections system in Georgia. And I will not waver in my commitment to work across party lines and across divisions to find a common purpose in protecting our democracy. For a state that elects Democrats and Republicans and Independents. That elects leaders who will not tolerate an erosion of our values.

Fair Fight Georgia. Because these votes are our voices. We are each entitled to our choices. And we have always, Georgia, been at the forefront of speaking truth to whatever power may lay claim to leadership – if only for the moment. We will win because we are Georgia.

And we will get it done.


Stacey Abrams

One Week After

Voting While Black 389-S

This just in, around noontime:

A federal judge has barred the Georgia secretary of state’s office from immediately certifying election results to allow more time to address problems with thousands of provisional ballots that voters were forced to cast last week.

On Tuesday morning, in a separate case, a federal judge ordered Gwinnett County to stop rejecting absentee ballots with missing or incorrect birth dates. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May addresses concerns raised by voting rights advocates on behalf of several voters and by Carolyn Bourdeaux, the Democratic candidate fighting to force a runoff with Republican Rep. Rob Woodall in the state’s 7th Congressional District.

Tuesday is the deadline for Georgia’s 159 counties to certify their elections results, and the secretary of state had planned to certify those results Wednesday. But U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg said late Monday that the secretary of state’s office could not certify results before Friday and that it had to “immediately establish and publicize on its website a secure and free-access hotline or website for provisional ballot voters to access to determine whether their provisional ballots were counted and, if not, the reason why.”

Meanwhile, Politico, no left-wing rag, reports, Republicans used redistricting to build a wall around the House. Trump just tore it down. All that efficient Republican gerrymandering worked efficiently for Democrats, as the whole country moved blue by several percentage points.

And this: How Democrats Won Over Older Voters—And Flipped the House: Democrats were victorious because they fought Republicans to a draw among Americans age 50 and up. How they did that is the story of the 2018 election.

While down in Florida, Rick Scott issues a furious, spittle flecked demand that the canvassers should stop counting ballots, including the military ballots sent in under deadlines determined by federal law.