Thursday, May 7, 2009

Karen Handel's Weekly Update (Candidate for GA Gov.)

Handel Citizenship Bill Signed Into Law

At a ceremony with the Governor yesterday, Karen thanked Governor Perdue for signing a law she championed to require that Georgians provide proof of United States citizenship when registering to vote.“I am proud of this legislation and believe it is common sense to ensure that voters in our elections are actually citizens of the United States,” Karen said.The legislation requires those registering to vote after January 1, 2010 to submit proof of U.S. citizenship with their application.Georgia will be only the second state in the nation to require applicants to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote.

Handel Project VoteSafe Program Signed Into Law

Karen announced last week the enactment of Project VoteSafe, a program to ensure that people (usually women) who are being protected in family violence centers do not have their addresses exposed to abusive partners simply because they want to exercise their right to vote. Governor Sonny Perdue signed the legislation into law Friday.Project VoteSafe, initiated by Karen's office and sponsored by Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome), applies to citizens who have received a protective order issued by a court and to residents of family violence shelters. These individuals would be eligible to confidentially register to vote without their voter registration information becoming available as public information.

“Georgians should not have to endanger themselves because they wish to exercise their right to vote,” Karen said. “Keeping our citizens safe and protecting their rights are among the most basic responsibilities of government and I am pleased that both of these goals are accomplished by this legislation.”

Handel’s Voter Fraud Efforts Yielding Results

When first elected, Karen pledged to root out and eliminate voter fraud and punish those responsible for it. As part of honoring that pledge, an investigation by the Secretary of State’s office and other agencies led to the resignation of former Chattooga County Judge Carlton Vines on Friday. Vines was indicted September 5, 2008 on felony charges of illegal possession of absentee ballots, conspiracy to commit election fraud, and false swearing.

“Voter fraud is an assault on our Democracy and undermines the public’s trust in their government,” Karen said. “Carlton Vines’ resignation is a victory for Georgia’s election laws and Chattooga County voters.”

Handel: Continuation of Voting Rights Act “Political and Ridiculous”
Imposition on All Georgians

A challenge currently before the U.S. Supreme Court should lead to a decision on whether or not all changes to the election laws in several Southern states will continue to require the blessing of federal bureaucrats. The law – an antiquated vestige of the reconstruction era is, as Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel puts it, “pure politics in its worst form and a ridiculous solution in search of a problem that left the South decades ago.”

Her statement on the topic follows:

The continuation of the Voting Rights Act has nothing to do with ensuring fairness in elections. It is pure politics in its worst form and a ridiculous solution in search of a problem that left the South decades ago. If the goal of this antiquated act were to truly ensure fair elections, it would immediately be imposed upon the state of Minnesota where missing ballots were found in a car trunk last year. It is unconscionable that Georgia should be treated as a poorer and less capable cousin to Minnesota. It is, in a word, unfair.

While the creators of the VRA were noble in their intentions, the continuation of its control exists for the sole reason of Washington bureaucrats control over the people of Georgia and other states – especially those that tend to vote for Republican candidates. This is not about fairness or competency. Georgia has proven that time and again with its election fairness. Rather it is to gain a political advantage through what Democrats call the “administrative firewall” of elections.

The disparity between Georgia and Ohio illustrates this perfectly.

Because Ohio is not covered by the VRA, its Secretary of State was able to unilaterally move to same-day registration to vote when such a move promised to be politically advantageous for Democrats. Georgia would have had to await pre-clearance, as we currently are doing on our recently-passed law to require proof of citizenship to vote. We are being discriminated against by the federal government and for no just reason. We have prevailed in virtually every challenge to our election laws under the voting rights act. VRA’s continuation has served primarily as an embarrassment and secondarily as a way to delay the implementation of common-sense measures that have put Georgia on the cutting edge of election fairness, security and voting technology. We are the envy of the nation with our electronic voting machines, early voting and no-excuse absentee balloting.

We have the best, cleanest, fairest election system in the country. Record numbers of voters of all racial background cast ballots in the 2008 presidential primaries and in the general election. The percentage of our voting eligible population that is registered to vote stands at a record high, and racial minorities hold elected office at every level of government, in both the Democratic and Republican Parties. If fairness and common-sense prevail, the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down Section 5 of the VRA and remove partisan, big government control from elections in the state of Georgia.
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