Jimmy Carter Shames GOP For Blatant Voter Suppression

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President Jimmy Carter (D-GA), 96, along with the former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, 93, both are still building houses for Habitat for Humanity. They are mentally sharp and active with their foundation, The Carter Center, which is committed to “waging peace, fighting disease, and building hope.’ Yet, today he is “disheartened, saddened, and angry.”

 

President Carter pointed to the Georgia state Republican legislators as they work to “turn back the clock through legislation that will restrict access to voting.” They have taken the election reform study he helped write 16 years ago in an attempt to tighten the noose around voter accessibility, especially mail-in voting.

The Georgia native wrote about illegally “stuffed” ballot boxes in his statement in The Carter Center:

‘In 1962, I ran to represent the 14th Senate District in the Georgia legislature. I won my Senate seat, but only after the courts ruled that a ballot box had been illegally “stuffed” with votes for my opponent. My experience with our election system was one of the reasons Rosalynn and I created The Carter Center. Since 1989, we have observed 113 elections in 39 countries and helped build consensus on standards for democratic elections, perhaps the most fundamental of which are the rights to vote and be elected.’

After he left office, President Carter traveled the world monitoring elections, so this may be particularly difficult for him:

‘One thing we have learned from our international work is that while states must safeguard the integrity of the election process to prevent fraud, this should not be at the expense of voters’ access to the polls. They should proactively expand voter access through safe, secure administrative practices.’

The president pointed to the “technologies that provide a paper trail allowing voters to review their ballot before it is cast:”

‘In addition, Georgia requires post-election risk-limiting audits that make it possible to check the accuracy of voting machines. Indeed, November saw a successful set of elections with record turnout and few or no fraudulent ballots counted—which should make us all proud.’

The 39th president said that state lawmakers would “turn back the clock:”

‘Now, as our state legislators seek to turn back the clock through legislation that will restrict access to voting for many Georgians, I am disheartened, saddened, and angry.

Many of the proposed changes are reactions to allegations of fraud for which no evidence was produced—allegations that were, in fact, refuted through various audits, recounts, and other measures. The proposed changes appear to be rooted in partisan interests, not in the interests of all Georgia voters.’

President Carter ended with a call for “fair, open, and secure” elections:

‘American democracy means every eligible person has the right to vote in an election that is fair, open, and secure. It should be flexible enough to meet the electorate’s changing needs. As Georgians, we must protect these values. We must not lose the progress we have made. We must not promote confidence among one segment of the electorate by restricting the participation of others.  Our goal always should be to increase, not decrease, voter participation.’

Mrs. Carter has supported women in journalism through her Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism.

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