Voters, today is your next-to-last chance to weigh in on an election in 2018. Early voting concludes this afternoon in a two-race runoff. Regular voting will take place Tuesday for voters who have not cast ballots early or via absentee ballot.
In the more prominent of the two races, Democrat John Barrow and Republican Brad Raffensperger are seeking to be the state’s next secretary of state. The winner will replace Robyn Crittenden, who has held the post on an interim basis following Brian Kemp’s resignation Nov. 8.
The duties of the secretary of state’s office include being the keeper of the Great Seal of Georgia and custodian of the state flag; it also preserves public records, registers professions and corporations, and has attached divisions like archives and agencies like the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust.
But it is its role every two years, when it supervises elections, that is most familiar to many voters — especially this year due to allegations of mismanagement by Kemp, who was running for governor even as he performed his duties as secretary of state. Kemp’s opponent, Democrat Stacey Abrams, said that was improper, but Kemp countered that all the vote-counting takes place at the local level so he had no opportunity to influence the results.
After the election, Fair Fight Action, a nonprofit group set up earlier this month, filed a federal lawsuit against the Secretary of State’s office. Abrams is on the board of Fair Fight Action but is not herself a plaintiff in the suit.
Neither is Kemp the defendant. Because of Kemp’s resignation, Crittenden has the job of defending the office. That role will, presumably, roll over to her successor, whether that be Raffensperger or Barrow.
The victor will also be tasked with helping the legislature replace aging voting machines. Kemp had already formed a study committee to research options.
The resolution of both issues will take place with the specter of insecure computer systems and hacking allegations — some by foreign adversaries — lurking in the background.
Recent history has shown us: Voting is a big deal. We need to get it right. Making sure we do will fall on the shoulders of the man we choose Tuesday.
Early voting takes place in Room 201 of the Colquitt County Courthouse Annex until 4:30 p.m. today. Regular voting will be held at polling places throughout the county 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday.
Make your voice heard as our state prepares to address important questions of voting rights, voters’ access and election security.