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Tazewell County Clerk slams Dems in Washington Post voting rights op-ed

Thursday, Jul 22, 2021

* Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman, a Republican, in the Washington Post

The Democratic Party and national news media have been propagating for months the fiction that election reforms in more than 20 states, especially in Florida, Georgia and Texas, are racist efforts to restrict voting rights. President Biden last week encouraged this gross misrepresentation, denouncing the laws as “21st century Jim Crow” and demanding of Republicans, “Have you no shame?”

The only shamelessness at work here is that of Democrats and their media allies.

As an Illinois election official, I would like to explore how some of the widely attacked Florida and Georgia election measures, and those pending in Texas, hold up when compared with current law in Illinois, a heavily Democratic state.

* Ackerman starts with Georgia and the notorious ban on handing out drinking water at the polls. He claims that in Tazewell County, “if you’re not there to vote and you’re not an authorized person, you’ll be asked to leave,” even if you’re standing outside the 100-foot electioneering border.

But if Ackerman really does that, then he’s not following state law. I asked the governor’s office for a response to Ackerman’s op-ed…

This Republican election official seems to be deliberately misinterpreting the laws in Illinois. The recent laws passed in Georgia and Florida, as well as those pending in Texas, revitalize long-standing disenfranchisement of marginalized communities, specifically Black people and people of color. States justify these restrictive actions by claiming they are necessary to prevent voter fraud, which is, in reality, a figment of their imagination.

    1. Georgia’s new law criminalizes offering food and water to voters waiting in line to vote, regardless of how long the line is. In Illinois, food and water can be provided to those more than 100 feet from the polling location.
    • This Republican election official’s choice to prevent people from receiving water if they are thirsty is not one that is required by law, but is instead his own interpretation that runs the opposite of the law’s intention.

    2. Florida’s new law requires voters to request vote-by-mail ballots every two years rather than every four years.

    3. Texas is proposing to legally limit early voting hours, increase voter ID requirements and banning drive-thru voting and 24-hour policing places.

In contrast, Illinois is expanding access to the ballot box by:

    1. Allowing election officials to create a permanent vote by mail registry
    2. Allowing for optional drop-off boxes for ballots
    3. Allowing for curbside voting

The administration welcomes ideas from local officials on ways to continue improving voter access and will continually work to ensure voters are able to exercise their rights in an easy and efficient manner.

* I think Ackerman does make a few good points about the oftentimes over the top reaction to some of this stuff, particularly among national reporters who don’t know the first thing about state laws, so it’s worth a full read.

But, the most important thing to remember is that the states in question claimed they were reversing or tightening up their laws to prevent fraud, but nobody could prove that the fraud actually existed. So, if they were trying to prevent an imaginary thing from happening, then one can justifiably conclude that their stated purpose was a lie, no matter how much one can nitpick.

Also, Illinois has clearly been going the opposite direction of those other states. The new option to be included in a permanent VBM registry is just one of them.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

36 Comments
  1. - Fav Human - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 3:14 pm:

    deliberately misinterpreting

    Let’s see what Georgia’s law says:


    No person shall solicit votes [or] distribute or display any campaign material, nor shall any person give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink,

    Then it says:

    This Code section shall not be construed to prohibit a poll officer…from making available self-service water from an unattended receptacle

    So you CAN give water to the poll workers, and they can make it available. The locality can make water available to the poll workers who can put it out.

    We will leave it to the readers to decide.


  2. - Fav Human - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 3:14 pm:

    Since I know you will ask:

    https://legiscan.com/GA/text/SB202/id/2348602


  3. - Fav Human - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 3:16 pm:

    Pages 73 & 74. Sorry for not adding this to the previous post.


  4. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 3:20 pm:

    ===a poll officer===

    Yeah, that wouldn’t be someone working the polling place for a campaign.


  5. - Commissar Gritty - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 3:26 pm:

    Voters: The lines to vote are hours long, and it’s hot under the sun. Can we have food and water?
    Republicans: No, that’s cheating.
    Voters: Ok, can we open more early voting places to reduce the lines?
    Republicans: No, that’s cheating.
    Voters:…ok can we at least expand mail in voting to reduce lines and make sure everyone gets their vote in?
    Republicans: No, that’s cheating.
    Voters: Ok. Can we arrange bussing services to pick up low income people from church so they can vote when they can’t get a mail in ballot or have a car to drive to the polls?
    Republicans: No, that’s cheating.
    Voters: Ok so data shows that the most densely populated urban areas have, per capita, way less voting locations than rural and suburban areas. Can we open more election day locations in this area to let those people vote?
    Republicans: No, that’s cheating.

    Also Republicans: THE ELECTIONS ARE RIGGED!!1! We need to pass more voting restrictions!


  6. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 3:27 pm:

    ah….Jackerman.


  7. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 3:41 pm:

    ===But, the most important thing to remember is that the states in question claimed they were reversing or tightening up their laws to prevent fraud, but nobody could prove that the fraud actually existed. So, if they were trying to prevent an imaginary thing from happening, then one can justifiably conclude that their stated purpose was a lie, no matter how much one can nitpick.===

    ^^^This. All day. Well said Rich.


  8. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 3:41 pm:

    How many other things would Republicans further fix that don’t need fixing?


  9. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 3:45 pm:

    Fav Human

    Media stories of Georgia voting often show long long lines. So, poll workers are going to make the line longer by periodically stop working and walking the line to hand out water?


  10. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 3:50 pm:

    The importance of the big lie is to push and pass legislation to make voting more difficult for people likely not voting Trump/Republican.

    Focusing on the political rhetoric of the big lie as most important is the hope of Trump Republicans…

    …as they legislate uninhibited based on the big lie.

    It’s like a very warped “winners make policy”… but imagine those winners need to usurp rights via policy to win elections. That kind of warped.

    This op-ed is continued fodder to distract, encouraging discussion but pushing ahead all the same… because in those states where they are able… they’re doing, not discussing.


  11. - Watcher of the Skies - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 3:53 pm:

    Rich, with all respect, I believe the most important thing to remember is that most of these states have a long and terrible history of preventing people of color from voting. Section V of the VRA was of course designed with that in mind, and overturning it was exactly the type of judicial activism conservatives claim to deplore.


  12. - Pundent - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 3:53 pm:

    Let’s also not be so naïve as to not acknowledge that the purpose behind these changes in the laws in Republican controlled states is to undermine the legitimacy of the current President.


  13. - Tall one - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 4:28 pm:

    My scan of I think Texas’ law allowed greater freedom of movement within the polls for partisan poll watchers. That I think is especially what Republicans want.


  14. - Cool Papa Bell - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 4:31 pm:

    If you are worried about more people being able to vote. And your reaction is to work to limit the number of people who do vote.

    Your afraid of the probable outcome of a democratic election.


  15. - Captain Obvious - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 4:33 pm:

    So laws should only be passed as a response to criminal activity, not to prevent it from happening in the first place. Got it.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 4:35 pm:

    == not to prevent it===

    What are you preventing exactly?

    Make it Obvious for the class…


  17. - Anon III - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 4:58 pm:

    === But, … the states in question claimed they were reversing or tightening up their laws to prevent fraud, but nobody could prove that the fraud actually existed. So, if they were trying to prevent an imaginary thing from happening, then one can justifiably conclude that their stated purpose was a lie, no matter how much one can nitpick. ===

    “A Sampling of Recent Election Fraud Cases from Across the United States

    “The Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database presents a sampling of recent proven instances of election fraud from across the country. Each and every one of the cases in this database represents an instance in which a public official, usually a prosecutor, thought it serious enough to act upon it. And each and every one ended in a finding that the individual had engaged in wrongdoing in connection with an election hoping to affect its outcome — or that the results of an election were sufficiently in question and had to be overturned. This database is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list. This database is intended to demonstrate the vulnerabilities in the election system and the many ways in which fraud is committed.”

    https://www.heritage.org/voterfraud


  18. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 5:02 pm:

    “So laws should only be passed as a response to criminal activity, not to prevent it from happening in the first place. Got it.”

    Handing out water to thirsty voters wasn’t a crime until until the GOP criminalized it.

    Got it?

    – MrJM


  19. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 5:04 pm:

    - Anon III -

    It says 21 criminal findings.

    I dunno, what are you saying, we need Jimmy Carter to monitor our elections like a 3rd world banana republic?


  20. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 5:10 pm:

    ===hoping to affect its outcome===

    How do you feel about an insurrection on the day of the electoral college vote, with t-shirts printed up, some even saying “Stop the Steal”, incited by a sitting president?

    Investigate or “we good”?


  21. - Anon III - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 5:22 pm:

    It, the database, reports:
    1,328 Proven instances of voter fraud
    1,143 Criminal convictions
    48 Civil penalties


  22. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 5:25 pm:

    - Anon III -

    Did you forget the mere 21 criminal findings.

    Also;

    How do you feel about an insurrection on the day of the electoral college vote, with t-shirts printed up, some even saying “Stop the Steal”, incited by a sitting president?

    Investigate or “we good”?

    Should Jimmy Carter monitor American elections like a 3rd world banana republic?

    Thanks.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 5:33 pm:

    What’s so interesting to the Heritage thingy is exactly what Russian propaganda has wanted since the Cold War;

    Have Americans not trust the honesty of elections.

    Which election is the Heritage Foundation saying is fraudulent?

    They should ask the Russians?


  24. - Decaturland - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 6:20 pm:

    The “notorious ban” of handing out water a polls refers to partisan groups giving water or anything else 100 feet from polls. Not to onerous in my opinion. People can feel free to bring their own water if they so choose.


  25. - Pundent - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 6:28 pm:

    =People can feel free to bring their own water if they so choose.=

    Why should they have to? Are you waiting in hour(s) long lines to vote? I’m not. I’m guessing that we have something in common that makes that a non-issue.


  26. - Decaturland - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 6:54 pm:

    If I was waiting in line for hours, then yes I would bring some water. I wouldn’t expect some partisans to provide me H2O. Such a non issue. How has the Republic survived?


  27. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 7:00 pm:

    === If I was waiting in line for hours===

    Ah… see… you glossed over the fundamental issue to take issue with a problem.

    Waiting in line for hours to vote, while other voters have better access *is* the problem to fix, not “H2O provided from a partisan”…


  28. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 7:02 pm:

    If you’re mocking the idea of H2O being handed out by partisans and find waiting hours to vote is acceptable… that thinking is part of the problem… and the suppression


  29. - Blue in Texas - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 7:08 pm:

    1,328 cases of fraud in a database that goes back to the 80s and 90s. And it includes cases related to gathering petition signatures - not actual voting infractions.

    1,328 is 0.0001% of all votes cast for president since 1992.
    1,328 is 0.001% of all votes cast for president in 2020.
    1,328 averages less than 50 cases per year, or not even a case per state per year.
    1,328 is less than a third of all votes cast in the uncontested 2021 Fox Metro Water Reclamation District Third Trustee race.

    Clearly the most pressing issue we face in America today.


  30. - JS Mill - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 7:24 pm:

    =Such a non issue.=

    Ok, sure the water is a non issue, talk to me about closing polling places in areas where there is a high population density. Especially when those areas are majority minority.

    Is that another “non issue” for you? Sounds like discrimination to me. That is an issue for me.


  31. - Big Tom - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 8:48 pm:

    If you think voter fraud is a figment of ones imagination, you either don’t understand the problem or don’t care.


  32. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 8:50 pm:

    ===If you think===

    Show the evidence.

    This isn’t Facebook.

    Thanks.


  33. - JS Mill - Thursday, Jul 22, 21 @ 9:44 pm:

    =If you think voter fraud is a figment of ones imagination, you either don’t understand the problem or don’t care.=

    Enlighten me with legitimate data and evidence, because one case per state per year ain’t a problem.


  34. - Flapdoodle - Friday, Jul 23, 21 @ 12:49 am:

    Spent some time following some of the source links in the Heritage Foundation database. Interestingly, many of them linked back to the database itself (making the database simply self-referential and thus useless) or to right-wing media outlets. This isn’t to say that the incidents in the database did not occur, but it *is* to say that the database itself fails to meet accepted evidentiary standards in journalism or social science.


  35. - Eww David - Friday, Jul 23, 21 @ 4:49 am:

    Why do i feel like Big Tom and Decaturland would throw a RHONY-level tantrum if they ever had to wait more than 10 minutes to vote? What’s that phrase about when you’re used to entitlement, equality feels like discrimination?


  36. - Anon III - Friday, Jul 23, 21 @ 10:27 am:

    I did not author the Heritage Database (HD). I found it on-line, and posted the link with introductory quotes from the database. It seems relevant to the contention that there is no voter fraud.

    The HD editorial material carefully describes its limitations. It does not purport to be all inclusive.


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