Don’t give away your right to vote

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When someone tells you they are going to take away your right to vote, do you prepare yourself to fight to keep that right?

Why is it something you would fight to keep, you simply give away? You do that every time you fail to show up for an election. In 2020 the number of people voting was high, but it was not 100%. That’s because people gave away their right to vote, by not voting.

The Georgia Primary Election is scheduled for May 24, 2022. The deadline to register to vote is April 25 because both federal and state law requires you to be legally registered thirty days prior to an election. The Primary in conjunction with any required run-off races will determine the candidates on the ballot in the “Midterm” General Election in November.

It all begins with the Primary Election on May 24. Will you be there to vote? Or will you give your right to vote away, by simply not voting?

No matter how high the vote count has ever been in Fayette County, it’s not 100%. Someone always gives away their right to vote. In the municipal election last November, were you one of the thousands who gave away your right? Will you do it again this year? I hope not.

I encourage everyone to consider doing some initial research on the Fayette County government website. For a link directly to election information go to: https://fayettecountyga.gov/elections/index.php

Here is a short list of what you can do from that website: 

• Read through the “Question & Answer” section which has a lot of information, including some things you may not realize you need to know before you vote.

• Check the voter registration deadlines for the primary and run-off elections.

• Check your current voter registration information.

• Change your address if you moved.

• Identify if recent redistricting has affected your address.

• Find your polling location and early voting locations.

• Check the dates, times, and locations for early voting.

• Request an absentee ballot if you need one by using the only authorized application that will be accepted this year.

• Find the location of the Fayette County dropbox.

• Identify candidates names for each race on the ballot.

• Apply to be a poll worker.

• Find out what identification you can use when you vote in person.

The fayettecountyga.gov website also contains a lot of other information for other county agencies, boards and offices. I find it helpful and easy to navigate.

While Fayette County hires and trains poll workers for every voting location that conducts early in-person voting, and every precinct on election day, the Republican Party and Democrat Party each recruit party members to work as “poll watchers” during voting. If you have been an active participant in elections by voting, you may want to consider becoming a poll watcher or poll worker. Both positions are vital in conducting honest, fair elections.

It is important that we focus on the fact that the road to the November election starts now. Candidates have applied and been certified for the Primary election.

I urge everyone to research the candidates for the party ballot they plan to vote. Georgia has open Primary elections. You will be asked which party ballot you wish to vote. Candidates from the same party may have different ideologies, political philosophies and lists of what they hope to accomplish in office. You must determine who you will support with your vote, and which party ballot you will vote.

Yard signs seem to be multiplying in the dark of night. Candidates are appearing in many venues to speak to voters. I urge you to attend meetings and rallies to meet the candidates. Choosing a candidate to support is much easier when you have met them and heard them speak. Some candidates give better “stump” speeches than others, though few ever stand on a stump anymore. Most candidates have social media profiles, and websites that explain their positions on issues.

American citizens have a right to vote. But never forget your right to vote comes with a responsibility. If you want your voice to be heard, it is your responsibility to cast your vote in every election. If you give up your right to vote in the Primary election, don’t be surprised when the people who did vote don’t want to listen to your complaints after the election.

Fayette County elections staff begin mailing out “Absentee” or “Mail-in ballots” on April 5. Early voting begins on May 2.

Please don’t be fooled by the negative media attention given to SB202 last year. The Georgia Election Integrity Act of 2021 makes it easy to vote and hard to cheat. Tell me the truth, how many people do you know who are legally eligible to vote, but they can’t, because they don’t have any form of identification? I’m not falling for that one.

If there is even the slightest chance that someone is going to vote in Georgia when they are not legally allowed to vote, then I want the system to stop them. It only takes one illegal vote to cancel my legal vote.

If you have any questions about the election, check the county website. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can call the county election office and ask them to mail you the application to vote by mail.

Whatever you do, you should never give away your right to vote. Yet thousands of Fayette County residents did that last year, and the year before.

Very few people have a valid excuse for not voting. So, I expect to see you at the polls.

[Suzanne Brown is retired after 21 years in federal law enforcement, has a BS from Cornell and an MS from Colorado State, and has lived in Peachtree City for 3 years. She often speaks at local government meetings during public comment time, pointing out various laws and regulations that need to be followed to preserve our communities, and in support of a patriotic agenda.]

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