Dear Editor: In last fall’s Presidential election, the Madison County election office with the help of Republican, Democrat and independent volunteers alike (all working under significant duress in the midst of a pandemic) did an outstanding job. We were encouraged by the voter turnout, which was one of the highest in recent local history. Based on the results reported by the election office, the Republican candidates won in a landslide victory and we, the Madison County Democratic Committee, did not question the integrity of the process — we knew that our county office did a good, honest job counting all the votes, and we respected the reported outcome.
Now, our state government is saying that we do not know how to conduct a legal, fair and impartial election. Do you think our state government — the governor, the secretary of state, the legislature — should have the ability to override our votes? Under the new laws, if the state legislature does not like how we vote in Madison County, they can void our choices and decide who will represent us.
The state mandated the changes, but Madison County taxpayers, not the state, will have to foot the bill for the changes that these new laws require. The new law restricts when and where we can vote and allows the state to reject the process if they do not like the candidates we choose. The law refuses to allow non-partisan funding to help our over-extended election office perform its job and makes us criminals if we share a bottle of water with our neighbors who are standing in line to vote. The law also requires that a drop box for absentee ballots can only be placed inside the early voting locations and only be accessible during business hours. Make no mistake, these changes will cause a hardship on some of our county citizens regardless of the party candidate they are trying to vote for.
Imagine for a moment that we had a Democratic governor, a Democratic secretary of state overseeing elections, and a predominantly Democratic state legislature. With these laws still in effect, how would you as voters respond if these state entities decided to send enforcement to Madison County to throw out our election results because we did not vote for their candidates of choice? We hope you would be as justifiably appalled and outraged as all voters should be regardless of the party they support.
The bill that Mr. Kemp signed into law in a rushed fashion and, apparently, behind closed doors, allows for the degradation of our election process here in Madison County. It is a disgrace and once again we want to remind the public that true democracy lies in the hands of the individual voters regardless of their party affiliation.
Chair, Madison County Democratic Committee