Georgia Lawmaker Vows to End Early Voting Because Blacks Vote That Way
Georgia Sen. Fran Millar, Republican of Dunwoody, has vowed to fight a plan to allow voting on Sunday because precincts will be "dominated by African American shoppers and... several large African American mega churches," and he "would prefer more educated voters."
Millar made the comments Tuesday morning on Facebook in response to news that Dekalb County would offer Sunday, Oct. 26, as an extra voting day at three different locations for working residents. Lee May, the heavily African American area's "interim CEO" who was appointed by conservative Gov. Nathan Deal, announced the plan in conjunction with a Monday visit from First Lady Michelle Obama.
Millar was, to say the least, unimpressed. "How ironic! Michele Obama comes to town and Chicago politics comes to DeKalb," he began his long rant on Facebook:
Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election. Per Jim Galloway of the AJC, this location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches such as New Birth Missionary Baptist. Galloway also points out the Democratic Party thinks this is a wonderful idea – what a surprise. I'm sure Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter are delighted with this blatantly partisan move in DeKalb.
Is it possible church buses will be used to transport people directly to the mall since the poll will open when the mall opens?
Millar closed by vowing that he'd "try to eliminate this election law loophole in January."
Some of his Facebook followers pointed out their unease with his attack. "[C]omplaining that the new temporary precinct favors African Americans leaves a bad taste in my mouth," one wrote, adding: "If the message were 'hey! we on the north side of the county want Sunday voting at a mall, too!' then I would have no room to complain. This post, however, comes across quite differently."
Another asked, "If enabling more people to vote, even in limited areas, is 'Chicago politics' then what is it when you move to take away opportunities to vote? That is petty."
Millar remained combative in the comments. "I never claimed to be nonpartisan," he said. "I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters."
Later, he added: "There is a pattern here that any logical person can see."
A little after that, he wrote: "I don't write off any ethnic group - I deal with individuals."
For his part, May, the county CEO, called the voting plan "nonpartisan," while agreeing with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it could increase pro-Democratic turnout. But the state Democratic Party chairman told AJC that "the rest of the 158 counties in Georgia ought to do it. Voting ought to be as convenient as possible."
Millar is a respected legislator, a solid Chamber of Commerce conservative who initially fought to defend Common Core educational standards but ended up ultimately voting for the state's Common Core ban. He has consistently ignored the racially tinged remarks and conspiracies that are occasionally posted to his Facebook page by rank-and-file conservatives. Still, his reaction to the Dekalb plan could strike many Georgia voters as tone-deaf.
In an admonishment to state Democrats over their relationship to Jewish voters last month, Millar wrote on Facebook: "The political axiom is don't assume you have a particular group's support particularly when you do stupid things that offend them."