Georgia State Senator: Don’t expand voting near African American areas

Georgia State Senator Fran Millar (R-40) has become the latest elected official to use social media to make questionable, racist comments.

Here’s the background: Georgia is a state with early voting.  Lee May, the interm CEO of DeKalb County (which is a heavily Democratic and heavily African-American area), announced that early voting would be expanded to Sunday, October 26, and that a voting station would be placed at a mall that is “dominated by African-American shoppers.” Naturally, this has led some to argue that the move is designed to enhance the chances of Democratic candidates running for office.

One of those individuals was Senator Millar, who went onto Facebook and launched into this rant:

Fran Millar Racist Facebook Post

 

As you can see, Senator Millar is pretty blatantly complaining about making is easier for African Americans to vote.  When questioned in the comments, Millar responded, “I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.”

Ooof.

The racial implications here are hard to miss, and Millar was attacked on those grounds.  DuPose Porter, Chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party, said:

What have Georgia Republicans come to when they are outwardly admitting to suppressing the African-American vote? Further, his comments about ‘educated voters’ are reprehensible. I suppose Fran would prefer a return to literacy tests or the poll tax while he’s at it.

Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, added:

Georgians everywhere should be scratching their heads asking, why is State Senator Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, an elected official so angry and perturbed by the prospect of more American citizens participating in the electoral process? And why is he vowing to use the legislative power entrusted to him by the people to undermine the electoral power of the people by killing Sunday voting?

When a politician says something questionable on social media, they usually do one of two things: they immediately apologize, or they double-down and stand by their remarks (or, sometimes, they double down, then wind up apologizing anyway). Thus far, Senator Millar has chosen to double-down.  In response to the statement from Rev. Warnock, Millar said:

Reverend Warnock, this is about partisan politics. When you only have Sunday voting in select precincts with traditional one party strength, then there is a fairness issue. If it was only Perimeter Mall rather than South DeKalb Mall, then that would be wrong.

My comment about educated voter was made in the context of for me being more important than just more people voting. Having people informed on issues such as transportation, education, taxation, etc would be a good thing versus voting based on sound bites.

The racial implications here are obvious.  If Senator Millar wanted to attack the process, fine, that seems like a perfectly valid complaint, but to go out of his way to mention race and education level is pretty stupid.  He shouldn’t be surprised that people are calling him racist, and he should have phrased his comments differently.  That’s the lesson here: Don’t leave yourself open to these kinds of attacks.

Any thoughts to add?  Let us know in the comments.

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