By: Floyd L. Griffin, Jr.
I think we all know what time it is. It is time up for talking. It’s time to early vote.
Let me hasten to say that I am a Democrat. I make no apologies for believing in Democratic principles. There is nothing lukewarm about my support for Democratic governance. As a former politician, I have worked both sides of the room. I am pragmatic enough to know that in government we need our best ideas coming from both sides of the aisle.
That said, a few weeks ago, I wrote an Op-Ed that was published in publications around the state, I set forth my fear that voters not forget the down ballot candidates, many of whom, offer the state a much-needed breath of fresh air. In this Op-Ed, I mentioned down ballot candidates by name and not by party affiliation.
Many people contacted me and said they welcomed my piece on not overlooking the down ballot. Several said it brought to their attention candidates they would otherwise not have thought to research before voting in the midterm election.
One Milledgeville politico took issue with the fact that each of the candidates I listed were Democrats. It’s true that those candidates just happen to be Democrats. But I did not single out the fact that these bright candidates represented any political party. Their party identification is not important to why I think voters should pay special attention to them. Their character and their stance on the issues are and this is what I hope I communicated to my readers.
If party had been a criterion for me, I could simply have saved a lot of ink and asked voters to vote a straight party ticket.
However, I don’t believe in voting a straight party ticket. I believe candidates should be chosen because of their position on the critical issues that face our country and state.
Talk is cheap.
One of the many problems facing our nation is that too much hot air is spoken at people and not enough sensible words are spoken towards those who have a different view from our own.
Stacy Abrams, Tabitha Johnson-Green, Janice Laws, Otha Thornton and others on the down ballot represent a refreshing change that will make our state great again.
Early voting is a privilege.
As we move into the early voting period, the time is up for talking, it’s now time to vote. This year, the vote of every Georgian is very important. I’m urging my neighbors and friends throughout the state to vote, and to vote early. We never know what weather conditions we will encounter in November. An early trip to your neighborhood polling precinct ensures that your vote is recorded no matter what happens on election day.
Early voting begins on October 15, 2018 and end on October 27, 2018. State law requires one mandatory Saturday for voting, some counties permit early voting on October 20 as well as October 27, 2018. Check with your local board of elections for Saturday voting dates if Saturdays work best for you.
Early voting allows you the opportunity to select the day you cast your ballot that best suits your schedule. It does not force you to have to figure out whether to rise early on election day and vote before going to work or to work your eight-hour shift, then stand in line to vote behind other people who put in their eight hours on the job that day too.
Also, if there were problems with your voter registration and you were unable to vote, you would have time to investigate it and solve the problem before the polls close on election day.
Moreover, if you go to the polls early, a special trick that has been played for years by unscrupulous political operatives will be rendered null and void. For decades, office seekers will seek to deceive the voters by dropping a hand-bill on the doorsteps of voters on the Sunday morning before the election. Essentially this amounts to a smear sheet on their opponent.
Usually, these smears arrive with little time to rebut them. An otherwise well qualified candidate is made to look like the devil incarnate.
It’s time out for this type of political campaigning. It’s time for us as a community to vote early and to go back often to take our family, friends, neighbors and church members to ensure that the highest number of people possible will have a say in the outcome of the midterm election.
American democracy only works if we exercise our right to vote. In the old days, we only had one day we could vote. Times have changed. Now we can vote when it is most convenient for us.
Nathalie and I will see you in the early vote line.
Floyd L. Griffin, Jr. is a retired Colonel in the United States Army, former mayor of Milledgeville, Georgia and a former State Senator representing Georgia’s 25th senatorial district. He lives in Milledgeville with his wife Nathalie.