Letter to the Editor: Let the Voting Chaos Begin

Quill pan and ink in article about absentee ballots

[This letter to the editor was written by Jacquelyn Bettadapur, Chair of the Cobb County Democratic Committee]

Let the voting chaos begin! Where is the election integrity in the GA House District 45 Special Election?

This week East Cobb area voters went to cast their vote in the District 45 Special election after verifying their eligibility on the Secretary of State’s current My Voter Page (MVP). Once they got to the polls, they were told they are not eligible to vote.

Why? The current MVP has been updated with the new redistricting maps. The Special Election is being conducted under the old maps. This error was reported to the Secretary of State’s office, and the response was “There is nothing we can do.”

What about eligible voters who are not turning up at the polls because MVP is telling them they are ineligible? Apparently, there is nothing the Secretary of State can do about that either. So much for free and fair elections.

It is only going to get worse heading into the May 24 Primary with multiple cityhood maps added to the mix of redistricting and a likely special election runoff.

Cobb County Elections & Registration Director Janine Eveler sounded the alarm back in February in a letter to the Deputy County Manager stating: “We were already on a very tight timeline to complete decennial redistricting and to conduct the 2022 election cycle. Adding these two additional complications to our workload increases the risk level for error and failure to meet deadlines.”

This of course fell on deaf ears with Republican legislators rushing multiple Cobb cityhood bills through the legislature with lightning speed along party lines, putting these referendums on the May 24 Primary ballot. Representative Matt Dollar (GOP, HD45), sponsor of the East Cobb Cityhood bill, promptly resigned after his bill passed through the House, triggering the HD45 Special Election chaos we are currently witnessing.

Representative Sharon Cooper (GOP, HD43), a co-sponsor of the East Cobb Cityhood bill and HD45 candidate, is AWOL in the district she currently represents and the district she is campaigning to represent, with respect to any of these issues.

Republican legislators and leadership have sowed this election chaos as they work this session to pass yet another election “integrity” law making it harder for people to vote and harder for our votes be counted. Normally, our remedy for incompetent representation and leadership is to vote them out of office. When the Secretary of State’s website presents misleading and inaccurate information to voters, how are we to have any confidence that this remedy is still truly available to us?

Jacquelyn Bettadapur

Chair, Cobb County Democratic Committee