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Crane

During October of 2018, Georgia’s Democratic Party called a press conference. Congressman Hank Johnson (4th District) was the spokesman. The congressman accused the DeKalb County Elections Office, and by extension its Board of Elections, of mishandling or losing 4,700 absentee ballot applications. The congressman was asked for evidence or a list of voters who had applied for, but then not yet received absentee ballots. After some delay ... two names were later provided to WSB-TV 2 Action News. Both “wronged voters” were contacted. One of the voters had cast her ballot and mailed it in, the other had received her absentee ballot, but at that time, not yet cast it.

Despite the lack of evidence, an investigation was opened by the U.S. Postal Service, the DeKalb County CEO, the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners and the DeKalb County Registrar’s office, as well as the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. No missing or misfiled or unopened/unprocessed absentee ballot applications were found. Claims of voter suppression by DeKalb County and the rest of the state of Georgia would become a campaign theme of the 2018 election cycle, and since.

DeKalb County, which shares a portion of the city of Atlanta, is one of Georgia’s most populous, as well as most consistently Democratic counties. During the 2018 General Election, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams would carry the county by 83.5 percent. Several longtime incumbent Republican State Senate and House members would lose their seats. DeKalb minority voters would see record registration, turnout, and win the early and absentee voting handily, as well as voting on Election Day. And yet again, the following spring, in March of 2019, the Democratic Party again raised the issue of the missing applications, although Abrams handily won DeKalb, she had lost the state of Georgia and governor’s race by slightly less than 55,000 votes of 3.9 million ballots cast to now Gov. Brian Kemp. Ms. Abrams would later acknowledge that Kemp won the office, while repeatedly stating that she had actually “won” the election. Ms. Abrams never conceded the contest.

And while a loss by Ms. Abrams in Georgia by 55,000 votes among 4 million has been intoned, editorialized and even reported by some national news media outlets as an election “stolen,” President Donald Trump’s loss of the same state by only 12,700 votes out of almost 5 million cast is characterized as a decisive turn of Georgia to Blue. Abrams and Trump both lost the state by narrow margins in hard-fought contests. Both were and are sore losers.

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And though you have heard it one or two thousand times from your mother and others since childhood ... the old adage still remains true. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Even Ms. Abrams finally let up on her near-constant attacks on former Secretary of State (now governor) Brian Kemp for his mismanagement of that office (her words). Trump conversely now Tweets that he is ashamed to have ever endorsed Kemp (at a critical stage in that campaign), at the behest of Senator David Perdue and his Agriculture Secretary cousin, Sonny Perdue.

And while President Trump cries foul, swinging and flailing in every direction, his legal team uses Georgia’s GOP electors as plaintiffs, suing the governor, secretary of state and State Election Board for holding a mismanaged election. Georgia will complete its second recount of those nearly 5 million ballots this week, again coming to results mirroring the prior counts.

During the hand ballot recount, 71 counties did not change by a single vote. And the president won the bulk of those counties as well. Mail-in voting needs additional security measures, and I suspect that will become a priority during the 2021 General Assembly, but that will not change or affect any results of 2020.

There are local runoff elections on Tuesday, Dec. 1, and then three statewide runoffs on Tuesday, Jan. 5. The majority in the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance of those results. Later this week, the president is returning to Georgia, ostensibly to assist Georgia’s two GOP senators in keeping their seats. Depending on which Trump arrives, the visit may be impactful either way. A “rally” Trump who speaks of protecting his legacy, blocking the reversal of his tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks, conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, and slowing down President-elect Biden’s agenda, could greatly assist Senators Perdue and Loeffler. A petulant, sore loser Trump, wildly swinging, crying wolf and poisoning the well of our republic, helps no one really ... not even himself. Care to bet which Trump we get to see?

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Bill Crane is a syndicated columnist based in Decatur. He has worked in politics for Democrats and Republicans, respects the process and will try and give you some things to think about. Your thoughts and responses to his opinions are also welcome, bill.csicrane@gmail.com.

Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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