Eyes turn to lawmakers after voting rights decision

— As the initial shock of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that several states — including Georgia — no longer need federal pre-clerance on voting and election matters, local officials are now looking to what comes next.

Although Gov. Nathan Deal and the state Republican Party applauded the decision handed down Tuesday by the court to strike a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, several local officials have voiced their objections.

And they are now turning their attention to Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

“I do expect to see some changes come out of the [state] Capitol as a result of this decision,” said Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeff Turner. “I would not be surprised if we see some form of legislation next year, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.”

State Rep. Valencia Stovall (D-Ellenwood) said, “I will be on the watch for legislation being introduced to ensure it is fair for all voters.”

There are many ways in which the Voting Rights Act affected election issues in Georgia. The law targeted nine mostly southern states that had a history of racial discrimination in election matters. As a result of its passage at the height of the Civil Rights movement, affected states and the communities within them had to receive federal approval for laws, redistricting maps and referendums.

“This decision insults the memory of people like Medgar Evers, who sacrificed their time and lives to secure the right to vote,” said Clayton County NAACP President Synamon Baldwin. “The constitution is incredibly clear that congress has the authority to ensure no voter is denied to the right to vote.”

It remains to be seen what the impact of the court’s decision will look like in Clayton County.

On the same day that the court struck down the pre-clerance requirement, Morrow City Manager Jeff Eady boasted to the city council that they had just received permission from the Department of Justice to proceed with a Sunday alcohol sales referendum in November.

Baldwin said the local NAACP chapter will contact members of the Clayton County legislative delegation and attend meetings of the county elections board to track any proposed changes to local and state elections laws.

Officials said the provisions of the Voting Rights Act are still needed, despite the court’s majority opinion that “things have changed dramatically.”

But Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) quickly contested that opinion in a statement released shortly after the decision was announced.

“The record clearly demonstrates numerous attempts to impede voting rights still exist, and it does not matter that those attempts are not as ‘pervasive, widespread or rampant’ as they were in 1965,” said Lewis in a statement released shortly after the decision was announced. “One instance of discrimination is too much in a democracy.”

Those sentiments echo the dissenting opinion written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She wrote, “Particularly effective is the VRA’s requirement of federal pre-clerance for all changes to voting laws in the regions of the country with the most aggravated records of rank discrimination against minority voting rights.”

Lewis expressed concerns about what the future holds for voting rights legislation. His district includes the northern half of Clayton County, including the cities of Forest Park, Lake City and Morrow. He is also a veteran of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and was at the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma, Ala., that is credited with prompting Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act.

The longtime congressman called the court’s decision a “dagger into the heart” of the Act.

“I am deeply concerned that Congress will not have the will to fix what the Supreme Court has broken,” said Lewis. “I call upon the members of this body to do what is right to insure free and fair access to the ballot box in this country.”

Turner said he would like to see the pre-clearance requirement return, but he said it should be on a broader scale.

“Discrimination does still exist in a lot of places and, personally, I feel like all 50 states should have to seek pre-clearance to ensure uniformity of practices and standards,” said Turner.

Stovall said voter education and registration will become more important. She said voter participation will need to be addressed in the county, where turnout for elections may struggle to reach 20 percent in non-presidential election years.

“We have the task even more of educating voters that it's not enough to just be registered but it's important to cast their ballots,” Stovall said. “The low voter turnout statistics has to be reversed starting in Clayton County. When more voters are informed, then better representation is the result.”


OscarKnight 2 years, 3 months ago

....This should be the last of the concerns, of these Elected Officials in Clayton County. Turner is blowing nothing but hot air; What says means absolutely nothing to the citizens in Georgia And John (Bridge ) Lewis can begin wiping the egg from his face, from switching his loyalty from Hillary to Obama during the 2008 democrat elections.

....."Baldwin said the local NAACP' : Another Carpet Bagging Race Hustler that arrived into our county, to create nothing but chaos among our multicultural environment. The NAACP is not needed in this county, not when Victor Hill receives 76.46 % percent of the votes in the General Elections, and Obama received 84.67 % percent of the votes in this county.

....These people won't be satisfied, until they get the whole pie.



OscarKnight 2 years, 3 months ago

.....Quote : (( "Baldwin said the local NAACP chapter will contact members of the Clayton County legislative delegation"))

......How many, in this county, knows that The NAACP opposed our Lawful Individual Rights To Bear Arms under The Second Amendment ?

....How many, in this county, knows that our Clayton County legislative delegation has never supported our Self Defense Bills in The General Assembly ?

....Sad, but True !!!....Does anyone have a need to see the facts ?


OscarKnight 2 years, 3 months ago

Quote : (("“Discrimination does still exist in a lot of places and, personally, I feel like all 50 states should have to seek pre-clearance to ensure uniformity of practices and standards,” said Turner"))

......Maybe Turner can take his soap box to places like Detroit or Atlanta. What is Turner talking about, when he talks about "Discrimination", I seriously doubt that Turner doesn't have clue what the word "Discrimination" means.

......More Lopsided, One Way, One Sided Ignorance in this county.



OscarKnight 2 years, 3 months ago

........Turner, Baldwin, and Lewis might tell us that oil and water can be mixed together, and 90 % percent of the Clayton County voters would probably buy into this silly notion.


serpico 2 years, 3 months ago

Turner speaks the truth. And that is the best idea. Voting a federal issue....it should not be up to states to play with the process of its implementation. All 50 states should have to seek federal approval for changing any of the process. The southern states have a recent issue of being discriminatory in voting issues.


OscarKnight 2 years, 3 months ago

....Voting Rights Act was signed into law on August 6, 1965, by President Lyndon Johnson (Democrat) to secure the minority vote for the Democrat Party.

Quote : serpico "The southern states have a recent issue of being discriminatory in voting issues"

....serpico. Riddle me this : Where have you ever seen this happen in our county ?

......Turner is a ex-Clayton County Policemen, turned politician, and so is Victor Hill.


OscarKnight 2 years, 3 months ago

....Fair Housing Act was also signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.

.....Another :

...."On October 22, 1968, Lyndon Johnson signed the Gun Control Act of 1968, one of the largest and most far reaching federal gun control laws in American history. This act represented a dramatic increase in federal power. Much of the motivation for this large expansion of federal gun regulations came as a response to the murders of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King." .......Johnson was disappointed that he failed to achieve firearm registration.


.....Did this Gun Control Act of 1968 reduced firearm violence ? ...Every Gun Control that proceeded this act, failed to curb firearm violence......The Gun Act of 1968 is the tool deployed by the Democrats to water down our lawful rights under the Secondment Amendment, Examples : The Brady Bill, The Domestic Violence Law, and The Assault Weapons Ban.

.....Does our Democrat State Legislators, from Clayton County, ever lend any support for our Self Defense Bills during the Georgia General Assembly ?


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