Potential Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker and his wife live in Texas, but she voted in Georgia’s election for president last fall.
The absentee ballot cast by Julie Blanchard raises questions about whether she was allowed to vote in Georgia while living in Texas. It’s illegal for nonresidents to vote in Georgia in most circumstances.
The questionable vote could undercut one of Walker’s main talking points if he enters the race against Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is up for a full term in November 2022.
Also, this Tweet certainly hasn’t aged well:
The report states that Blanchard hasn’t voted in Georgia sine 2008 and her voter registration was canceled in Georgia in 2017. She renewed it in 2019 and still has a Georgia drivers license even though she lives in Texas. Here’s something else from the report:
State law determines residency based on where a voter’s “habitation is fixed,” and those who move to another state with the intention of making it their residence lose their eligibility to vote in Georgia.
Blanchard and Walker purchased their Texas property in 2011 and receive a homestead exemption on their property taxes, according to public records. Homestead exemptions are granted to homeowners for their legal residence. Blanchard didn’t claim a homestead exemption on her Fulton County property last year.
As Herschel Walker continues to flirt with a race for U.S. Senate, a survey by left-leaning Public Policy Polling shows why the Republican can bide his time.
The poll shows roughly three-quarters of Republican voters give him a favorable rating with just 7% unfavorability, putting the football icon in a better position than either of the other two Republicans tested in the poll, former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.
Thanks to his lofty name recognition, Walker also has the highest net favorability rating of the three among all voters, with 41% giving him positive reviews compared to a 28% negative rating. Loeffler, by contrast, is underwater.
Former President Donald Trump has teased Walker over and over for the race, calling the former pro-ballers “unstoppable.”
In a head-to-head matchup against Democrat Raphael Warnock, both Loeffler and Walker are in a statistical tie. The lesser-known Black, meanwhile, trails the incumbent 46-38.
Late last month, Georgia Republicans began a process that could end with them seizing control of election administration in Fulton County — a Democratic stronghold that encompasses most of Atlanta.
Under Georgia’s new election law, SB 202, the GOP-controlled state elections board may remove a county’s top election officials and replace them with a temporary superintendent (although this process will likely take months as the board has to jump through a few procedural hoops first). Once such a superintendent is in place, they can disqualify voters, move polling places, and even potentially refuse to certify election results.
Voter suppression laws are nothing new, even in the post-Jim Crow era. And Georgia’s SB 202 is hardly the first effort by Republican state lawmakers to skew elections by making it harder for Democratic constituencies to cast a ballot.
But prior efforts to restrict the franchise frequently placed unnecessary hurdles in the way of voters, such as by requiring them to show certain forms of ID or by limiting where and when voters can cast their ballot. These sorts of laws are troubling, but they can be overcome by determined voters.
SB 202, by contrast, is part of a new generation of election laws that target the nuts and bolts of election administration, potentially allowing voters to be disenfranchised even if they follow the rules.
Because state voter suppression laws targeting ballot counting and election certification are relatively new, Democrats did not come into 2021 with a legislative proposal to address these laws. Democratic leaders’ primary voting rights bill, the For the People Act, includes a grab bag of provisions intended to neutralize state laws making it harder to vote. But the For the People Act’s drafters did not anticipate something like SB 202’s provisions allowing the Republican Party to take control of election administration in Democratic counties.
Which brings us to the Preventing Election Subversion Act of 2021, a bill introduced by Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) that seeks to fill that gap.
It doesn’t prevent Georgia’s elections board from removing a local election official, but it does impose some procedural safeguards intended to prevent local officials from being removed for partisan reasons. Among other things, it allows such officials to sue for reinstatement in federal court.
Additionally, the bill would make it a felony to harass or intimidate election workers in order to interfere with their official duties. GOP lawmakers in some states, including Texas, are pushing legislation making it harder for election workers to remove partisan observers who disrupt an election. Warnock’s bill would subject the worst-behaved election observers to criminal charges.
But the effort still has a pulse — which may be faint, but which exists nevertheless. In fact, just last week Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) hosted a private discussion — at the urging of Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) — to explore a legislative strategy in the hopes of advancing a revised voting rights package.
It wouldn’t be as expansive and ambitious as the original For the People Act, but it would be narrowly focused in ways intended to generate broad support — especially from Manchin, whose framework would serve as the basis for a bill.
The Washington Post added yesterday, “That effort has yet to produce a final product, but multiple Democrats who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly describe the talks said they expect an agreement within days. That, they said, could set up a new vote in the Senate before the summer recess likely begins next week.”
Now, I know what you’re thinking. At this point, you’re looking at your screen and wondering, “What difference does it make? Senate Republicans will never even consider such a proposal; there’s no realistic chance that any voting-rights bill can overcome a GOP filibuster; so there’s no point in taking any of this seriously.”
That may be very well prove to be true, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that these senators are rolling up their sleeves and working arduously to craft a meaningful bill. Whether or not you always agree with the relevant players — Schumer, Warnock, Manchin, Amy Klobuchar have all taken leading roles in this process — none of these senators are dumb.
They’re well aware of the legislative arithmetic, and it seems unlikely that they’d invest time and energy into an important bill that was doomed from the outset.
Gabby Cipollone loves her home state of West Virginia. But the 23-year-old says that isn’t the case for many young West Virginians.“Our population is fleeing,” Cipollone said, adding that many of her friends and even her sister have left West Virginia — a state that she says has felt the impact of the opioid epidemic and a struggling coal mining industry.“[My friends] cite a lack of opportunity and a lack of feeling that their opinion, voice or vote matters,” she said.
Still, amid the national conversation on voting rights, the state has become a focus because of Sen. Joe Manchin, whose vote is critical to Democrats’ ability to pass voting rights legislation in Congress. That matters to young people there, Cipollone says, because increasing voter accessibility would help address the various issues plaguing the state.West Virginia is one of the three US states with a shrinking population, according to US Census data. The state’s population is aging, and more people died than were born in West Virginia between 2010 and 2020. Simultaneously, West Virginia witnessed a higher pace of migration out of the state than it had in prior decades and as a result of its population loss, the state is losing a House seat in 2022.
Manchin in recent weeks has been part of a group of Senate Democrats — including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia — working to craft a revised voting rights bill compromise aimed at continuing their work on the issue after Senate Republicans blocked Democrats’ sweeping voting and elections reform legislation, the so-called For the People Act, from advancing.As part of Un-PAC West Virginia, the local branch of a national youth-led voting rights advocacy group and political action committee, Cipollone and other Un-PAC organizers have sought to locally raise awareness about the need for federal voting rights reform. Since May, the young organizers have knocked on doors across the state, with a goal of getting West Virginians of all ages to contact Manchin to express their concern.
With voting rights legislation stalled in Congress, Cipollone and other young organizers in West Virginia have ramped up their advocacy efforts, encouraging as many West Virginians as possible to contact their senators to push for the For the People Act.
The time has never been more urgent for Americans to call their Senators and demand immediate action to protect the freedom to vote.
This week, we’re turning the heat up on Congress to make it clear that we need both the For the People Act AND the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act in order to:
- Fight back against the slate of anti-voter bills passed in state legislatures, and
- Protect voters from future attacks on our freedom to vote.
Below are some key points to emphasize when calling your Senators about the For The People Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act.
What to Say To Your Senators
It is imperative that Congress pass the For the People Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act before state legislatures and commissions begin to redraw districts. We need urgent federal action to secure fair districts, protect voters from partisan gerrymandering, and ensure their voices are heard.
Want some more information? Feel free to share the following with your Senators:
With the recent Supreme Court ruling in Brnovich v. DNC further weakening the protections of the Voting Rights Act, the urgent need for federal action to protect the freedom to vote is greater than ever.
Americans across party lines support common sense national standards to protect the freedom to vote, and the U.S. Senate must continue to work together to reach a compromise.
With the For the People Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act, Congress has a once-in-a-decade chance to protect voters from partisan gerrymandering and ensure our voices are heard.
Thank you for your support and activism,
Team Fair Fight Action
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.