Republican Chairwoman of Election Board in Gwinnett County, Ga., Calls for Election Laws to Be Changed So Her Party Can Win

Illustration for article titled Republican Chairwoman of Election Board in Gwinnett County, Ga., Calls for Election Laws to Be Changed So Her Party Can Win
Photo: Ben Gray (AP)

Republicans are still peeved at the powerful showing of historically marginalized voters—Black people, specifically—who gave Democrats the win in the White House and the Senate. This was evidenced recently by the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, aka a tantrum thrown by white people mad that they don’t have a monopoly on choosing who runs this country.

Alice O’Lenick, the chairwoman of the Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections in Georgia, is not hiding her anger with the democratic process that allowed voters in the region (which is a suburban part of Atlanta) to help turn the state blue by voting for Biden as president and Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff for the U.S. Senate.

O’Lenick told her fellow party members at a recent GOP meeting that her sights are set on changing election laws so they can win next time.

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“I’m like a dog with a bone. I will not let them end this session without changing some of these laws,“ O’Lenick said, according to a report from the Gwinnett Daily Post. “They don’t have to change all of them, but they’ve got to change the major parts of them so that we at least have a shot at winning.”

After that blatant statement of intent, O’Lenick went on to specify exactly which laws she wants to attack, evidently with the goal of making it harder for people to vote and thus harder for them to vote out Republicans.

“The absentee-by-mail, you exclude the elderly and infirm (from needing an excuse), and everyone else would have to have an excuse,” she said. “We took out a few years ago absentee-by-mail for cause, so you don’t have to say a cause. You just say, ‘It’s not convenient. I’m just not going to go (on election day).’”

She’s also targeting the use of ballot drop boxes, which, like absentee voting, were critical to enabling people to vote safely in the most recent elections given the deadly risks posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic—especially to communities of color.

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From Gwinnett Daily Post:

“The ballot drop boxes have to go,” O’Lenick said. “I’ve had an attorney on Jan. 5 that was sent by the (Republican National Committee), two of them, that stood outside Gwinnett (election) headquarters and all they did was photograph people dropping absentee ballots in that box that’s right, as you’re looking at the office, to the left of the front door.

“They did not see one person that was dropping in one ballot at a time, and they came to me and said, ‘Alice, why in the world do you have this here?’ And, I said, ‘Well, A, I didn’t put it there (and), B, I complained about it.’”

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She complained about it. How typical. Also typical was her claim that voter rolls need to be scrubbed of non-citizens and dead people. O’Lenick added that she will be putting pressure on Republicans in Congress to push for election laws to be changed.

On Tuesday, 15 members of the Gwinnett County legislative delegation called for O’Lenick’s resignation, saying her statements demonstrate an “inability to complete the duties of chair of the Gwinnett County Board of Elections to ensure free and fair elections and an open democratic process for the citizens of Gwinnett County.”

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Fair Fight, the voter mobilization group founded by Stacey Abrams, also joined 16 voting rights and civil rights groups in calling for O’Lenick to step down.

“O’Lenick isn’t even trying to hide her bias against Democratic voters and voters of color in Gwinnett County,” said Fair Fight on Twitter. “County election board members and chairs should celebrate high voter turnout, regardless of outcome, not advocate laws that will benefit one party over the other.”

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However, the chairman of the GOP in Gwinnett County is a Black man named Edward Murrow, who is playing his role as racism apologist perfectly by mocking the idea that O’Lenick aims to continue his party’s long-tradition of suppressing the Black voters.

“I think it’s actually laughable that we have people using phrases like ‘Jim Crow’ and ‘voter suppression’ and invoking the victimhood, if you will, of Black people in order to support their stance for wanting to remove Alice O’Lenick,” he told the Daily Post.

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It’s actually not that laughable, especially when you consider that O’Lenick has previously been called out for racist posts on social media. According to a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, O’Lenick wrote on Facebook that “after emancipation all black Americans were offered free transport, a home, livestock if they wanted to return to Africa … so there was no force to stay.”

O’Lenick has not responded to the calls for her to resign.

Writer, speaker, finesser, and a fly dresser. Jamaican-American currently chilling in Chicago.

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DISCUSSION

Dr Emilio Lizardo

they’ve got to change the major parts of them so that we at least have a shot at winning

If you have to change the rules to “have a shot,” you don’t deserve to win. This should be obvious but apparently it needs to be pointed out to them.