Barack Obama is proof that Georgia needs no Voting Rights Act, Sonny Perdue argues

Gov. Sonny Perdue is positing that Barack Obama’s performance in Georgia during the 2008 presidential elections is proof enough that the state should be freed of federal scrutiny mandated by the Voting Rights Act.

Through a private lawyer, the governor has filed an amicus brief in the case of Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder, which will be argued in April and is predicted to be the most important case involving race and election law that the U.S. Supreme Court has heard in years.

Read Perdue’s 36-page argument here.

The Texas lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires federal approval for any change in election law in nine states, including Texas and Georgia, and parts of seven others.

The friend-of-the-court brief was drawn up by Anne Lewis, deputy counsel for the state GOP, after Attorney General Thurbert Baker — a Democrat and an African-American — refused. Lewis, who did not charge for her services, successfully defended the Georgia law that requires voters to present photo identification.

Perdue makes two basic arguments — first, that Georgia is no longer the state that it was in 1965 when the Voting Rights Act was first approved by Congress. It was most recently renewed in 2006. Secondly, Perdue argues that Georgia has been held hostage by the behavior of local governments, over which — according to the state constitution — state government has no control.

The brief argues:

Equally important to his interest in eliminating the unnecessary hard costs incurred in obtaining the federal government’s blessing upon every single change in any law, rule or regulation touching on Georgia elections, Governor Perdue has an interest in correcting the extremely negative and totally erroneous implication of Congress’ action.

Today’s Georgia is not, as Congress suggests, a place where the state or local governments sponsor racial discrimination in the electoral process that must be curbed by the federal government. To the contrary and as the data below shows clearly,Georgia has earned the right to be free from the preclearance requirements of Section 5.

The 2008 presidential election, in which Republican John McCain carried Georgia, demonstrates Georgia’s progress, Perdue argues — although, not to be rude, most Republicans last December also pointed to U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ easy runoff victory over Democrat Jim Martin as evidence that their influence in Georgia was secure.

According to the brief:

Nothing evidences that support more clearly than comparing the votes President Barack Obama received in Georgia with the votes received by the last two Democratic Presidential nominees, Senator John Kerry and former Vice President Al Gore. In the 2008 election, President Obama received 1,844,137 votes of the 3.9 million Presidential votes cast in Georgia. Those raw numbers mean that President Obama received 47% of the votes cast in a majority Republican state with only 29% black population.

In Georgia, President Obama received a percentage vote 3.8 points higher than former Vice President Gore in 2000, and 5.6 points higher than Senator Kerry in 2004. Congress’ insistence that Georgia has “a continuing legacy of racism” in the context of the renewal of the VRA is nonsensical when an African- American candidate for President receives a greater percentage of the vote than his white predecessor candidates.

A state can escape the scrutiny of the Voting Rights Act, if it builds a record of compliance. But to do so is nearly impossible, Perdue argues:

Even if a county had a perfect record of compliance since 1965, one failure by a city or school board within the boundaries of the county will prevent the county from bailing out for another ten years. Similarly, one mistake by a city with a very small population will prevent the entire State of Georgia from bailing out.

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62 comments Add your comment

sickofthetyranny

March 18th, 2009
7:47 pm

Purdue and his ilk never tire of trying to find ways of making this place look like even more of a backwater than it is. What an idiot.

mhw

March 18th, 2009
8:45 pm

I think that it is likely that Georgia has gone backward in its overall views. It still ranks among the top 5 states in numbers of Hate Groups (SPLC), and has several in the state legislature who are in lockstep with the goals of the League of the South, a neo-confederate group.

prqagmatic

March 19th, 2009
7:52 am

You people really don’t know a thing about this voting rights bill. So please shut up or get educated. It cost a axpayers a lot of money to get approvial for every change of voting districts which happen every time there is a population shift. “sickofthetyranny” there is no doubt you may be sick but you are mostly just ignorant.

MaxieGrrrl

March 19th, 2009
8:35 am

Dear prqagmatic… sounds like you’ve never been turned away from the polls or had anyone in your family denied the right to vote. On behalf of those of us who have (and still experience challenges) in this great state, I say STFU! Until Georgia (and its local governments) get it right, they’ll be subject to the increased scrutiny. Maybe you should tell your friends under the Gold Dome to stop trying to find ways to keep people away from the polls based on freaky conspiracy theories. I bet that will help the case.

GoodScout

March 19th, 2009
11:18 am

That would be believable, Bubbanator, if Obama had in fact WON the state of Georgia last fall. Or Texas. Or Mississippi. Or South Carolina. Nice try, Sonny. Stick to screwing up transportation and food inspections, and stay out of the law. Thanks.

Nick

March 19th, 2009
11:35 am

They understand that their only way to sustain power is to dilute the vote. Everything this administration supports has to do with reducing the number of people who vote in elections.

BA

March 19th, 2009
11:50 am

This is the first intelligent thought that Sonny has had since he assumed office.

People, it’s no longer 1962. Bull Conner is long dead, the City of Atlanta won’t see a white mayor for quite sometime (it’s a shame that people decide their mayor based on color, not policies).

The Voting Rights Act is just another way Washington tries to control us for the benefit of those in power in Washington

Peter

March 19th, 2009
11:58 am

This law is outdated. It remains in place today not to protect voters but to blackmail Georgia into becoming a Blue state. If the messiah Obama had won Georgia, then and only then would the Democrats say Georgia is a fair state. Democrats only believe in democracy as long as they get their way. What a bunch of hypocrites.

Student

March 19th, 2009
12:01 pm

UNBELIEVABLE!

cp

March 19th, 2009
12:08 pm

I don’t understand why people have an issue showing an ID to vote, what is the problem with that. I believe you should have to show ID to vote, just like to have to show ID to buy beer. Only the whiny Dems say we should be able to tell people who we are and not have to back it up with ID.

SistaSoul

March 19th, 2009
12:10 pm

When you release people of regulation, they revert to any kind of behavior – hence the Wall Street greed. This will probably not fair well for minorities in the State of Georgia.

RJ

March 19th, 2009
12:23 pm

If this were true, one should resonably see conviction of crimes in the state be representaive of the state’s population rates ! Why do African-Americans represent higher conviction rates for the exact types crimes commited by whites. Blacks are given twice the time than other white ciizens in the state meaning unequal justice ! The vestiges of hate are still, readily seen in the work places by Black people !!!

BA

March 19th, 2009
12:30 pm

When you release people of regulation, they revert to any kind of behavior – hence the Wall Street greed. This will probably not fair well for minorities in the State of Georgia.

—–

Hmmm, so you feel we should all be regulated at all times, intresting. Then you make the statement “they revert to any kind of behavior”. Revert to implies it was the behavior before. “any kind” is very Obama-like in it’s unspecificity. You are saying that withou regulation peple just go back to behaving in any way, so you believe that the government should also regulate our behavior.

Wall Street Greed. Are you employed? Well then you likely got you job in part because of someone’s financial greed. If you work for the government (and given you post you probably do), then you are employed because of the greed for power. Greed is not inheriently evil. Also, don’t forget, it takes two to tango. Washington telling banks that they must lend money to un-creditworthy people and banks seeing that there was a lot of profit.

“This will probably not fair well for minorities in the State of Georgia.” How so? Because illegal immigrants will no longer be able to vote (lacking proper identification). Perhaps we won’t have “majority minority” congressional districts that wind along I20 for close to 200 miles…It’s not what is best for minorities in Georgia, it’s what’s best for Georgian’s. It’s time we quit playing identity politics and did was was best and what is right, regardless of who it may offend.

Jeremy

March 19th, 2009
12:36 pm

Dr. Martin Luther King always said that “There is nothing more dangerous in this world than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” I believe Governor Perdue doesn’t realize the true nature of the Voting Rights Act and neither does anyone else who criticizes its existence. The Voting Rights Act was established to protect voting rights for not just blacks, not just Democrats nor Republicans but to ensure that any citizen who has any issues with their basic right to vote is protect.

Dislike4_Sunny

March 19th, 2009
12:38 pm

Why on GOD’s good earth is Sunny worring about this. At time like this he should be focused on Georgia’s sour economy, not the voting rights act. The GOP will stop at nothing. Nothing Republicans do anymore suprises me. I hope and pray he loses!!

shunda

March 19th, 2009
12:42 pm

sounds like the NCLB rule being applied to the entire state. If One child over the rate fails then the entire school is labeled a failure. If one county or local government fails to act appropriately, then the state of GA has to be under VRA. As long as Republicans hold to NCLB and its idiocy, let the left hold to VRA.

Dan H.

March 19th, 2009
12:43 pm

Enter your comments here

Alan

March 19th, 2009
12:45 pm

Can’t we just get rid of all thugs and democrats? Maybe ship them to Alaska? Atlanta and Georgia sure would be a better place!

WalkInMyShoes

March 19th, 2009
12:50 pm

BA, not it isn’t 1962 or 1862 for that matter, but try changing the mentality of the ignorance non-people of color and see what happens. The face of America is Multi-colored, not of no-color anymore. With the exceptance of the old guys in the gold dome that just can’t seem to understand this is a new day and time for America and for all Americans.

Bob

March 19th, 2009
12:52 pm

It sounds like Sonny is just trying to ease some of the regulatory burden on the state to save money and stop wasting time filling out paperwork. But who knows? Sonny has been up to some pretty crooked stuff lately and I certainly won’t put my faith in him again.

Why does everyone assume that all black people voted for Obama? Like 5 percent of black people are conservative. He didn’t get 100% it was 97+%.

Honestly, if this is such a good act it should apply to every state in the country. At this point in time I don’t feel the south is all that much different from everywhere else. IF GA is subjected to undue federal oversight and regulatory burden, every state should have the same requirements.

It’s kind fo silly that the federal government has control over our voting districts and in turn can, in a way, decide who our representatives are. It seems kind of corrupt.

Concerned

March 19th, 2009
1:02 pm

Only the Lord up above will determine what the correct outcome should and will be. Amen!

Dan

March 19th, 2009
1:14 pm

Why is my comment not being posted?

SISSY SAXBY

March 19th, 2009
1:23 pm

Perdoofus is proof that ignorant people are permitted to vote.

Vic

March 19th, 2009
1:32 pm

It amazes me that GA politicians can worry about English being the only language of GA and voting rights when the economy is in such disarray.

Joe

March 19th, 2009
1:33 pm

Alan, just say “Niagaras” instead of “thugs”; we all know what you mean. I will have more respect for you instead of thinking that you are a coward. BTW– Atlanta, Georgia, and this country would be crappy without us. You know it. Deep down, you really love us– that’s the funny part! But I’m sorry, you can never be a “thug”. Never. Ever! Good luck with your tan.

Bob

March 19th, 2009
1:41 pm

What’s a Niagara?

Bill

March 19th, 2009
1:46 pm

Sonny is just posturing for a national position in the GOP after he leaves office in a few years.

Dan

March 19th, 2009
1:53 pm

Wow, this blog is totally blocking my moderate, thought-out comment. I guess it’s not lefty nut or righty nut enough. I guess this blog doesn’t want to hear a Democrat like myself supporting Perdue on this one issue because it blurs the pre-determined battle lines. Hopefully this post makes it.

Gregg

March 19th, 2009
2:02 pm

The Governor is correct….

WM

March 19th, 2009
2:04 pm

First off, all of you who think you have the right to vote are wrong. No where in the Constitution does it say you have the right to vote. If it did, then why was Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. trying to get that amendment heard in committee? So please, you have the privledge to vote, but not the right. On to the matter at hand. Sonny should be asking for this to be overturned. Michigan, for example, can change their districts for representation without having to go through the Justice Dept., yet here in Georgia anytime the state house gives thought to changing the districts, we have to consult the Justice Dept. Is that fair? Is that change we can believe in? No. As was said, everytime Georgia redraws its districts, it becomes very expsensive because the state has to jump through 8 more hoops than say New York or Nevada & districts are re-drawn almost after every census. As far as Georgia’s current economic plight, Sonny cannot wave a magic wand and make it all better. This state’s economy has always been based on agriculture and manufacturing. The state’s #1 crop, peanuts, was nearly decimated by the fools who ran the plant in Blakely and most of the manufacturing jobs in Georgia have revolved around the housing industry to a degree. So it is not as black and white as all of you want it to be. BTW, if you think Atlanta or Georgia is “backwards,” last I checked Delta, AitTran, Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Greyhound, Budget, Ford, Dodge, Chrysler, GM, UHaul, & Amtrak are all various means to get you to a place which you don’t think is backwards. Your free to leave whenever you like.

Alan

March 19th, 2009
2:18 pm

Joe,

How did you guess? White people love blacks a ton! Look what good things they do to our communities! Steal, rape, sell drugs, kill, ruin nice things like Buckhead, Atlantic Station, etc. What would we do without you guys! Thanks a bunch!

Cindy

March 19th, 2009
2:32 pm

I think, seeing Rep. Austin Scott’s objection to Obama being an honorary member of the GA black caucus, it is very wise to keep this Act in place. Maybe GA as a whole isn’t the same as in 1965, but apparently some of its legislators are and we should be protected from any misdeeds they might try to legislate.

Vic

March 19th, 2009
2:40 pm

WM, voting is a “priviledges” that is still being denied certain people in this country. Once the “priviledges” become equitable, this will be a better country.
Alan, people like you never cease to surprise me, especially in GA.

Joe Blow

March 19th, 2009
2:42 pm

Sonny Perdue is an ignorant racist backwater Governor as well as the people who vote for this fathead Elmer fudge look alike fool. He is constantly working to turn back the clock. He loved it when white was right and thought of themselves as Superior to other races, although this assessment not was not based on education or wealth.Yes, Barack broke the color barrier, but that’s just ONE person.Georgians can’t buy alcohol on sunday’s because Our Mayberry GUVONOR doesn’t drink. He does nothing for the transit system because in his mind it only serves minorities. He doesn’t know Marta goes to lenox square, perimeter mall and etc. I am ashame of living in the south, Don’t worry I’m trying to leave as I write this.Everything is driven by racism in the south. Case and point, That Ignorant @$$ hole in Louisiana has the audacity to turn down federal bail out money. Does he not know about Hurricane Katrina!!! I am only dissapointed in Barrack for trying to be bi-partisian with a bunch of racist hate mongers(Republicans),and when did Thurbert Baker get some kahuna’s. I am sooo surprise he didn’t write and submit the brief. Anytime people of Perdue likeness don’t get their way, they try to change the rules or the game.

J.B.

Redneck Convert

March 19th, 2009
2:52 pm

Well, I’m with old Sonny on this one. We don’t need people coming down here and trying to ruin our good Southren way of life. It’s got to the point you can’t even give Those People wrong scoop about when voting is and get by with it. You even got to go to court to make them show ID at the polls and scare them into thinking maybe a warrant’s out for them. And you can forget about putting up a cross on one of their yards and burning it to send a message about how they need to start straightening up. I say Washington needs to give us the right to run our own state. We’ll have Those People down to 5% of the people that vote in no time flat and we can be a godly state again.

Dave

March 19th, 2009
2:58 pm

Finally, the Governor takes an action which would result in so many positive effects for this state it would be incredible! The idiot from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy, was the primary force behind the renewal of this outdated and unnecessary law. But when asked by our senators if he would accept the same provisions and restrictions for Massachusetts, he bristled and said he would NOT! The provisions of this law are covered in other federal law and the only purpose for it at this point is that it requires the governmental entity to show no racial discrimination in any action that the entity takes! It allows another outdated and useless group, the NAACP to threaten and blackmail, for their own political purposes, any elected body or governing group without any proof of discrimination! Many government entities cave in to this racial blackmail because the cost of proving no discrimination can be very draining to the entity and is not in the budget! A few years ago, I was elected to office and on a mere allegation with NO proof, we had to spend 1000 hours of our staffs’ time to answer a silly complaint which the Office of Civil Rights eventually ruled that not only was there no basis for the complaint, but that our program which, the NAACP did not like, was racially neutral and should be a model for the entire country not just here in Georgia! We were threatened for three months before the complaint was filed and as you can see, because we did not give in to their demands a substantial amount of taxpayer money was wasted for no reason. All the information given to the OCR was given to the NAACP in advance of the complaint. This was a pattern repeated over my entire four years in office! Because we sought to do what was right for ALL the citizens in our community and not give in to one group’s shadowy agenda, we were constantly harassed. Georgia is a progressive and great place to live and it is not 1965. Under our system of law in this country the burden of proof should be on the accuser and the NAACP and other race baiters know this and that is why they hide behind this law! Star Parker, a famous African American writer, has written that we will never progress as a people until some of those folks who cannot get over the 60s and the civil rights struggle die off and are no longer a factor in our lives! We need to come together as Georgians and support our Governor as he tries to give us the same rights as our fellow Americans in Massachusetts!

sickofthetyranny

March 19th, 2009
3:01 pm

Joe, that is good advice but you really should add “Hispanics (legally here or not)” to that list. After all, Latinos have quickly become the “other” in this fair state.

whatawasteoftime

March 19th, 2009
3:01 pm

I certainly would want Sonny to spend time improving our schools and attracting businesses to Georgia instead of tinkering with the Voting Rights Act. It seems to me Sonny lacks any vision in pushing Georgia forward. He spends too much time on partisan and political issues rather than working hard for the people he represents. Anyone supporting him trying to “fix” or dismantle the Voting Rights Act needs to have their head examined. We have bigger fish to fry. How about an unemployment rate of 9.3%. Why don’t the Republicans that are in charge do something that makes sense?

yt

March 19th, 2009
3:03 pm

To the libs that are flat out lying about people still being turned away at the polls due to race in Ga. YOU are the Racist! You rely on lies and reverse racism (wich is in itslef a racist term. you can not get over the lack of racism that you use to hang your hats(usualy over sized and red with gold trim)on.

Bob

March 19th, 2009
3:04 pm

I think before anyone else posts a comment they should Perdue’s 36 page argument and see if he’s right or wrong. Everyone on here appears to be a racist and I highly doubt anyone actually read his argument.

For Redneck Convert: If someone has a warrant out for their arrest then no, I don’t really want them voting because they’re likely to be, but not always, a criminal. They should go clear that up before they vote. You seriously want criminals voting? Why?

sickofthetyranny

March 19th, 2009
3:12 pm

Dave,

“Georgia is a progressive and great place to live?”

Progressive? Really? Compared to where, exactly?

Any movement towards “progressive” has been stifled by people who think like Sonny Purdue.

Atlanta_Tiger_Fan

March 19th, 2009
3:18 pm

Of course it’s not needed anymore. Everyone has en equal opportunity to vote, in fact the poor blacks actually get a ride to the polls and money to vote. How sweet a deal is that? I have to drive myself and get nothing.

Roni

March 19th, 2009
3:27 pm

Sonny please go sit down and shut up:). Telling the puplic to go pray last fall when we where all out of gas, Having this state ranked near dead last on education. Glad a product of the north. Yes, Sonny, I hope your alive to see America turn to a majority in the US to people of color. Please fix the DOT, give us safe food and tell your DOT department to stop screwing around.This state is such a back water. This is NOT the New York of the south. This is what I call a upscale back water.

lanerlaw

March 19th, 2009
3:29 pm

If this law is so great and fair why does it only apply to the South? I know for a fact there are racist areas up north. This whole law should be unconstitutional. The legal fees and costs spent in unnecessary compliance fights could be better spent elsewhere.

sickofthetyranny

March 19th, 2009
3:43 pm

lanerlaw,

While there is racism everywhere, not every state has a history of institutional racism the Southern States have. Further, even those that do have a history of institutional racism have it in their more remotely distant past.

The comments of many people on this board should be indicative of why we need the Act. Happily, I don’t think Purdue will get away with this and I think it just might be not only his undoing but that of Republican pols like him in this state.

add14jazz

March 19th, 2009
3:46 pm

The Governor, as usual, is completely INCORRECT! You have idiot Republicans who are STILL trying to do everything they can to complete minimize the African American vote, partially because of racist leanings, but mostly because they know African Americans primarily vote for Democrats. Without the Voting Rights Act, their selfish, racist and completely immoral whims would win out.
Besides, the Act hasn’t bothered anyone. Why get rid of it? There is NO reason to and every reason to keep it.
Just because Barack Obama is president does NOT mean you idiot, racist knuckleheads, especially these selfish, hypocitical Republicans — and some of these hypocrticial Democrats — aren’t still trying to implement unneeded, made-up issues to get rid of an Act that has done all good and NO harm!!

NOTE TO REPUBLICANS AND CONSERVATIVES: IF YOU WANT TO GUARANTEE SOME VOTES IN THE FUTURE, TRY COMING UP WITH IDEAS THAT BENEFIT MORE PEOPLE INSTEAD OF SELFISH, POLITICALLY PARTISAN INITIATIVES TO A) GUARANTEE YOU VOTES BY USING THE FEAR FACTOR AND, B) TRY TO HOLD OTHERS DOWN! PEOPLE ARE SICK AND TIRED OF YOUR TIRED, DIVISIVE AND SELFISH EFFORTS!! STOP TRYING TO SO HARD TO BE A REPUBLICAN (OR DEMOCRAT) AND JUST BECOME A FREAKIN’ AMERICAN!!! JEEZ!

SISSY SAXBY

March 19th, 2009
3:55 pm

Perdoofus is a genius. Maybe if he can keep people arguing about this minor point, nobody will notice that Georgia’s unemployment rate is now almost ten percent.

Uncle C

March 19th, 2009
4:01 pm

1st and foremost, Sonny Perdue is a Veternarian not an atty. 2nd, with the voting debacles all over Georgia during the last 3 elections, laws still need to be on the books to protect ALL voters. Georgia had some of the worst cases of mis-counted votes than Florida did in the 2000 and 2004 Presidential Election. 3rd, Blacks have never voted for someone because of race. If that was the case, Al Sharpton, Alan Keys, and some others would have a greater chance to be president than any other candidate. Last time I checked, based on historic and numerical fact: Out of 44 Presidents of United States, 1 was black since the USA has been its own country. And he wouldn’t have won if only blacks voted for him. And since the inception of the charter for the City of Atlanta, only the last 4 mayors have been black. But somebody figured out that if the city was “Redlined”, they could increase property value to move minorities out and increase the chance for swinging the urban vote. Guess what!? I think that would be good for the citizens and employees of the City of Atlanta. A white republican mayor may be the answer to the fall of Atlanta’s progressiveness.

WM

March 19th, 2009
4:14 pm

Vic. Where in my post did I use a plural form of the word privledge? And who has been denied the privledge to vote recently? Can you name one person, all I want is the name of one person who has been turned away from the polls based soley on race. And if that person was denied, ever think it might have been because they were A) at the wrong voting location or B) did not produce the correct indentification or C) were not even registered to vote? Of course not. Logic is a liberals worst enemy. And I suppose by equitable, you mean can vote regardless of legal status, citizenship, identification shown, voter registration status, dead/alive, etc. Oh Vic I “neededs” that “laughs” today.

WM

March 19th, 2009
4:20 pm

To add14Jazz-
In your rant, you gave ideas to Republicans on how to win votes. My question to you is, did not and is not your savior Obama and his fellow Democrats using those same tactics to ensure they stay in power? I give you as an example, this “outrage” over the AIG bounuses. Your fellow Democrats and Republicans in name only, basically spat on the Constitution today. add14jazz, may I suggest that you grow up a litte and let go of the racist chip on your shoulder you obviously have. You my friend are just as part of the problem as those you called out in your rant.