Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

'Our voting system isn't rigged -- it's jerry rigged'

Over at the Saporta Report, former Insider and AJC colleague Tom Baxter takes on the system that holds us together today – or not. A taste:

Our voting system isn’t rigged, it’s jerry-rigged. This election year, with its shadowy suggestions of Russian dirty tricks, its last-minute court rulings concerning ballot access in North Carolina, and those malfunctioning voting machines, has outlined what amounts to one of this country’s great infrastructural failures in this century.



When the century began, people like former Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox were talking about a voting system so transparent and technically advanced that people would vote as conveniently as they would buy a pair of shoes, and sometimes in the same shopping center. The chaos of the butterfly ballots and hanging chads of the 2000 presidential election was to be a thing of the past.


What we have instead is a system limping by on outdated software, crippled by suspicions from every side, growing ever more varied on the way elections are conducted across the country. Many states have changed their voting rules, then changed them again, in some instances. What had seemed a worthy nonpartisan goal at the beginning of the century has devolved into the most partisan of battlefields. We’ve innovated enough to grow a new set of problems without investing enough to shake off the problems we had.


Part of what we do here amounts to rumor-killing. This one’s freshly dead: Contrary to some last-minute whispers, Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, is unlikely to face opposition next Monday when newly elected House members gather to elect their new leaders.

We told you last night of Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson’s effort to wrap up his bid for a third term in the U.S. Senate. The Cobb County event attracted a goodly number of state lawmakers, including state Rep. Sam Teasley of Marietta.

More than a few of Teasley’s colleagues with access to his Facebook page had seen his prayer for guidance to cope with a big decision – and thought that the young conservative might be considering a challenge to Ralston, with whom he had famously sparred two sessions ago over “religious liberty” legislation.

So we approached Teasley last night. “I’m running for re-election as vice-chairman of the [House Republican] caucus,” he said.

Case closed.


Georgia football star Herschel Walker made a final pitch for Donald Trump on Monday, turning to a gridiron metaphor to explain his support for the New York businessman.

"If you want a change, how do you get it? You don’t get it by putting someone in office that’s been there forever," Walker said in an interview. "You need new people there. Because if you just have a new quarterback and keep the offensive line, you're not going to get any change."

Walker, a retired NFL running back who played in Trump’s short-lived United States Football League, has been an outspoken supporter of the businessman. He predicted a "tough and close" vote in Georgia and across the nation, and said his critics who label him a bigot are blowing his comments out of proportion.

"I’ve heard this over and over again – he’s a racist. It’s crap. Donald Trump is not a racist. He’s said some stupid things, but everyone does," he said. "I've said since the 1980s that Donald Trump loves America. I made that statement because I saw what he was doing. He will fight for the country. He will work. He will get his hands dirty."

He said he had no hard feelings for Hillary Clinton - indeed, some of his relatives are voting for her - but he had this message for voters: "His opponent is an incredible women. She’s tough. But we need a change."


U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, has cut a final video for the Democratic National Committee urging voters to reject Donald Trump. The civil rights icon cited the endorsement of the KKK's newspaper as particularly unacceptable. Watch here:

"What bothers me is that Mr. Trump has now run a national campaign that has emboldened these racists and bigots," Lewis said, as the video cut to African-Americans getting physically harassed at Trump rallies.

The Democrat's closing argument was an oft-quoted line reminiscent of past civil rights fights: "I want everyone, especially young people, to know that all it takes for evil to grow is the indifference of good people."


You know that Donald Trump is struggling in Utah, a reliably Republican state that has been put off by the New York businessman's antics and has dallied with a GOP alternative, Evan McMullin. So it wasn't necessarily a surprise that Michael Williams, who journeyed to Utah last week to boost Trump, has a column in today's Deseret News. The headline: "I'm voting for Trump and I'm a Mormon state senator from Georgia."

Here's a piece:

Donald Trump is no saint. But he also isn’t the person the media would have you believe. He has led a life different from what we would define as "acceptable." However, it is that life that has prepared him for what lies ahead. Please do not buy into the trappings that millions of Americans fell for during the last election. Vote for Donald Trump, not because you like him, but because he is the only candidate with the ability to win the presidency that also supports the policies we value.


Notably absent from Johnny Isakson’s final campaign blitz Monday was his Senate colleague David Perdue. The freshman Republican was instead in Washington, where he led the Senate through what is essentially a ceremonial session.

Perdue also took time to expand on his stance regarding the Supreme Court vacancy, which was first reported by your Insiders over the weekend. Via Politico:

Perdue said the GOP should “absolutely” give any Clinton nominee a fair shake if she is victorious on Tuesday.

“I hear what’s being said about that, but I think that’s a dereliction of duty. We’re called to advise and consent. We can say no, but that means you have a hearing,” Perdue, a conservative Republican who serves on the Judiciary Committee, told reporters in the Capitol on Monday. “I’m going to be one that says look, our oath of office says that we’re going to govern. And that’s what we should do.”

The news site also reported that Perdue disagrees with Isakson’s prediction that President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland would be confirmed before January if Clinton wins today.


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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.