Your morning jolt: Feds sue over Georgia’s runoff schedule

Federal officials have followed through on a threat issued nearly two weeks ago. From the Associated Press:

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia and its chief election official for allegedly not giving enough time to military service members, their families and citizens living overseas to return absentee ballots for the Aug. 21 federal primary runoff election.

The Justice Department said in a news release Wednesday that the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. The news release says Georgia’s procedures are “inadequate to ensure that its eligible military and overseas voters can participate fully” in the runoff, should one be necessary.

Federal officials contend that under Georgia’s election calendar, absentee ballots for the runoff election won’t be sent out until after the July 7 deadline, or 45 days in advance of the election.

Of course, it’s hard to issue a runoff ballot on July 7 when the first round of voting doesn’t occur until July 31. This morning, Secretary of State Brian Kemp declared that this is a case of blue administration meddling in red-state affairs:

“I am incredibly disappointed in the action that the Department of Justice took yesterday. As I said last week, I do not view this as an earnest effort on behalf of military and overseas voters, but rather a politically motivated stunt during an election year. The timing and lack of communication simply does not allow for any other explanation.”

A consent order proposed by DOJ officials last week would require the state to hold off declaring official winners of an Aug. 21 primary runoff by seven working days, until Aug. 31 – to give time for overseas ballots to flow in and be counted. (A similar cushion would be added to any – highly unlikely — Dec. 4 general election runoff that involves federal office.)

Which means the one contest that could be impacted by the DOJ action is the GOP contest to challenge U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta.

***
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Wednesday met with members of the LGBT community who are demanding that he follow President Barack Obama’s lead and endorse same-sex marriage. From the Georgia Voice, quoting Democratic state House candidate Ken Britt:

“I would compare it to somebody coming out, that he has got to take time to think about what is meaningful to him. This was an educational process and he was very open and it was a very warm and friendly discussion,” Britt said. “In fact he has offered to have a follow up session in July to talk more about this.”

Britt said that while Reed did not say that he plans to announce support for gay marriage, his impression was that the mayor will eventually reach that position.

“One thing he did say that I think we are all taking with us is that tolerance is a two-way street and we really have to give him some time to continue on his journey to think about this,” Britt said. “I think he will come out on the other side in the right place.”

Those at the meeting said the mayor emphasized that his current disinclination to support gay marriage – he does support civil unions – is based on a personal belief and not political calculations.

***
This morning’s print column in the AJC focuses on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Arizona’s immigration law and its impact on Georgia politics – as Republicans now struggle to reach a consensus on the issue.

Wholly by coincidence, House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, this morning sent out an email to constituents on the same topic, and attempted to chart out some common ground. We include four of his 10 points:

7. Provide an avenue for legal residence status and possible future citizenship for the children of illegal aliens. There is a difference between adults who cross the border illegally and the children who follow their parents across. For the most part, these children know no other home but America. If these children stay in high school, attend college or obtain skilled job training or enlist in the military, and stay out of legal trouble, we should provide them with a pathway to citizenship. There is presently in Congress the DREAM Act touted by many Democrats and the STAR Act supported by Senator Marco Rubio and others in the GOP. It is time for advocates of each to find common ground.

8. For adults who have crossed our borders illegally, we need to be realistic – 12 million people are not going home and we need to figure out a way to get them out of the underground economy they presently exist in. We should not offer citizenship or permanent residency to anyone whose first act in America is to violate our immigration laws. This sends the wrong message to others who are considering crossing the border illegally and is unfair to those who are patiently waiting their turn to enter the country legally. However, if an illegal alien has otherwise kept out of trouble with the law and has family and roots here, we should allow them to pay a fine and be given a temporary ten year renewable visa. Renewability should be based on the temporary visa holders’ continued ability to sustain him or herself without government assistance either through employment or family and the absence of a criminal record.

9. Use the Supreme Court ruling on the limits of state action to push the federal government. The Supreme Court set out a balance between the federal and state governments that must be recognized in any future legislation. At the same time, this decision should also re-energize our call for the federal government to meet its responsibility and act.

10. Draw a clear distinction between legitimate concerns about illegal aliens and generally anti-immigration views. Our nation is a nation of immigrants. Georgia has been fortunate over the past few decades to become a point of destination for those who wish to come to our country legally. They have benefited us economically and culturally. We should oppose any legislation that seeks to limit legal immigrants’ acceptance in our state or ability to strive for the American dream.

Read Lindsey’s thoughts in their entirety here on his Facebook page. Let the conversation begin.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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22 comments Add your comment

Danny O

June 28th, 2012
9:39 am

Bravo to Rep. Lindsey for taking a few steps out onto the immigration battlefield. As a GOP leader representing the most conservative part of Atlanta, he is risking getting shot at from his base on the right. There a plenty of politicians who would not dare attempt to bridge such a contentious ideological divide.

Georgian

June 28th, 2012
9:50 am

Thank you GA House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta for moving towards middle ground on immigration after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Immigration reform is our US Congress’ responsibility and only they can provide the solution with the DREAM Act and some path to earned legalization of those undocumented immigrants already here.

clyde

June 28th, 2012
10:03 am

Twelve million people aren’t going home?They are if they are sent home.It’s only our lack of wanting to deport them that keeps them here.

Mark

June 28th, 2012
10:25 am

BREAKING NEWS!!!~

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS HEALTHCARE LAW!!

Where’s td now? LOL!

Attack Dog

June 28th, 2012
10:26 am

After seeing how dysfunctional Dixiecrats ran their primary elections in multiple states, and issuing a runoff ballot three weeks before an election is not meddling Mr. Kemp, it is stating the obvious. They us again who won Iowa?

History Will Teach Us if we Will Learn

June 28th, 2012
10:42 am

From SCOTUS Blog:
In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding

Bernie

June 28th, 2012
10:44 am

It seems as though someone down at the DOME sees the writing the WALL.

Georgia has always been one of the STATES that has consistently acted like a Petulant Child when comes to Fiscal and SOCIAL ISSUES for its citizens.
It has always taken the Adult (The Federal Government) to step in Georgia’s many affairs to assist them in recognizing the right way to do things, that many of the politicians and its people already know should be done.

I look forward to a day, maybe (3) three generations away, it will be take that long to remove that particular ” GENE” ( not the MAN or woman) from the Southern Man’s
way of thinking.

Congratulations President OBAMA, Through your hard fought Leadership, America’s
future remains as bright as the Morning SUN.

Bernie

June 28th, 2012
10:47 am

It seems as though someone down at the DOME sees the writing on the WALL.

Georgia has always been one of the STATES that has consistently acted like a Petulant Child when comes to Fiscal and SOCIAL ISSUES for its citizens.
It has always taken the Adult (The Federal Government) to step in Georgia’s many affairs to assist them in recognizing the right way to do things, that many of the politicians and its people already know should be done.

I look forward to a day, maybe (3) three generations away, it will take that long to remove that particular ” GENE” ( not the MAN or woman) from the Southern Man’s
way of thinking.

Congratulations President OBAMA, Through your hard fought Leadership, America’s
future remains as bright as the Morning SUN.

corrected – :)

Dumb and Dumber

June 28th, 2012
11:03 am

I think I’d rather have this Lindsey fellow as Mayor of Atlanta than the current creature we have in office. It sounds like Lindsey has some principles, while Kasim is only interested in his political future in Congress or Statewide office — not running the city.

Mayor Kasim — quit whining about deepening the port of Savannah and get more cops on the street, improve the city’s dysfunctional permitting, water and parks systems, and focus on being Mayor of Atlanta, not Nathan Deal’s lapdog,

Centrist

June 28th, 2012
11:06 am

House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey’s ILLEGAL immigration stance does not represent a majority view of the House, Senate, Georgia voters, or current law on at least two of his points. His point 7 highlighted above will not find anything more liberal than the STAR legislation to become law, and it may end up more conservative. The Dream Act is simply a liberal dead end. His point 8 about a 10 year visa will not likely become law.

I wholly admit I am surprised by the SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare. I have little doubt that there will be major changes to this law through legislation in the future – much more if Romney is elected. The political waivers are gross and temporary – unless extended to both party supporters. Not a good way to apply laws.

ld

June 28th, 2012
11:11 am

IN ANY RUNOFF this question needs to be addressed by candidates:

In GA, GA gave GA PWR the government reserved right of imminent domain; does Roberts’ Court Obamacare decision give insurance companies the right to be a “taxing authority” ?

Is it the “penalty” that is the “tax” and the “mandate” otherwise NOT consititutional?

ld

June 28th, 2012
11:15 am

Is a “penalty” a “tax” or a “fine”?

yuzeyurbrane

June 28th, 2012
11:18 am

Centrist’s views do not represent a majority of Georgians; bravo to Lindsey.

WOW

June 28th, 2012
11:48 am

A penalty it would seem to me would be a fine and not a tax. If you are referring to the ’so called’ penalty in the ACA. I call it ’so called’ because if you read the actual legislation the penalty will NEVER be assessed and therefore is worthless.

Auntie Christ

June 28th, 2012
11:52 am

clyde says: Twelve million people aren’t going home?They are if they are sent home.It’s only our lack of wanting to deport them that keeps them here.

You do realize this requires ICE agents to round them up detention facilities to hold them, courts to hear their cases, transport back to countries of origin, and many, many other costs. But repubs don’t want to pay for any more government. So, genius how do you propose to just ’send them home?’

Auntie Christ

June 28th, 2012
11:54 am

Centrist’s views do not represent a majority of Georgians; bravo to Lindsey

centrist is the voice of the 1000’s of voices in his head.

GaBlue

June 28th, 2012
11:59 am

clyde: “It’s only our lack of wanting to deport them that keeps them here.”

Clyde, I’m just curious. Do you want the Federal government to grow much bigger, cost more to operate, and raise our taxes to cover the new expenditures, or do you prefer that the State governments hire the necessary enforcement manpower, build and operate detention centers, (I smell some seriously over-priced no-bid contracts for friends of our legislators!), buy more government transportation, and triple the number of lawyers on the payroll?

Since there’s no magic wand that comes with “wanting” something, please DO give us a breakdown of your logistics plan to make it happen!

hiram

June 28th, 2012
11:59 am

Lindsey said:

“They(illegal aliens) have benefited us economically and culturally.”

Illegal aliens have economically benefited the Vidalia onion farmers, chicken processors, et. al., but they certainly haven’t benefitted me or millions of other Georgian’s economically, or culturely. The politicians clearly haven’t yielded to naive do- gooders, but rather to the pressure applied by the bearers of gifts and campaign funds.

To show our collective graditude, Georgia’s citizens, who’ve been educated in illegal alien culture by the 25 that moved in next door, should give Mr. Lindsey and select others the same opportunity. We can pool our money and purchase the houses next door to them – then gift the houses along with a dozen or so assorted, vintage vehicles to deserving illegal aliens and their extended families.

Centrist

June 28th, 2012
12:04 pm

yuzeyurbrane posted “Centrist’s views do not represent a majority of Georgians; bravo to Lindsey.”

So in your world with the liberal AJC, the popular existing Georgia anti-ILLEGAL immigration law passed by the House, Senate, and signed into law by the Governor does not represent majority rule – but a single Republican Representative does?

I have no problem with you supporting the liberal line and Lindsey’s view – but it is nothing close to a majority opinion or current law where I come down.

Proud Latino-American worker

June 28th, 2012
2:30 pm

Lindsey is a sellout kooloaid drinking idiot who cares nothing for legal imigrants like us. 12 million is half the real number and if illegals can come in, they can move out. there is no one way valve. They are already leaving because of enforcement and lack of jobs. I have to wonder where this man’s heart is concerning the out of work Americans like me when he welcomes illegals. I smell the Chamber of Commerce here and hope this clown gets ousted soon.

ADK
Smyrna

A Ghast

June 28th, 2012
3:19 pm

Blah, blah, blah — all the public discourse about the “illegal immigration problem” is SO totally unnecessary, if our federal government would simply enforce existing laws concerning people who illegally come into our country to live. That is the big question: why are they not enforcing the laws and what can we the people do to make that happen?

Re the SCOTUS opinion on the healthcare law, I was surprised but pleased with the ruling that Congress can indeed pass laws imposing penalties and fees for the purpose of carrying out said laws. This bill writing was like all legislation, sausage with some good and some bad thrown in. But at least it is something to move us forward on addressing the present huge healthcare problems in our nation – anything that does not work well in implementation can be changed by Congressional amendment. I just wish it had been written to clearly stop the insurance industry’s stranglehold on our healthcare, stop having our healthcare decisions made by insurance co. bureaucrats instead of our doctors!

Just a taxpayer

June 29th, 2012
8:03 am

Lindsey, you’ve had plenty of opportunities to address immigration in a thoughtful, deliberate manner. Why, only when you’ve been smacked upside the head, do you try to find the common ground.

Be a leader. Seek common ground. Move our state and country ahead. Idealogies are just that, ideals. Realities are often much different.