Atlanta Mayoral candidate Mary Norwood has alleged that she has received reports of voting issues and “intimidation” in connection with the December 5th runoff election.
Many voters have come forward to describe the administrative problems and voter intimidation that occurred on Election Day. If you experienced a problem when you cast your vote, contact the Secretary of State using their Stop Voter Fraud website: https://t.co/e1Q0ILFA3Q
— Mary Norwood (@marynorwood) December 7, 2017
She had also alleged that voting issues were responsible for her loss to Mayor Kasim Reed in 2009.
Election results are expected to be certified on Monday. Norwood cannot officially request a recount until the vote has been certified. Whether or not Norwood can reverse the outcome in her favor, allegations of alleged voter interference and “intimidation” adds a new wrinkle that has a far-reaching impact beyond this election.
In her tweet, Norwood directs people alleging issues to fill out a form on Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s “Stop Voter Fraud” site. As with her prior conversation on alleged voter issues, Norwood fails to raise issues or express concern with the Secretary of State’s issues with voter suppression and his focus on non-existent voter fraud. She did not initially provide any statement distancing herself from Kemp on this issue or clarifying.
The confusion over her allegations is clear when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution characterized her 2009 allegations as claims of “voter fraud.” To be clear voter fraud is not a widespread issue, and confusing the term with election fraud or voter suppression further Republican narratives that ultimately deprive marginalized groups of access to the ballot.
Kemp’s cooperation with the Trump voter fraud sham commission, as well as multiple lawsuits challenging his purging of voters and one where voter data was subsequently deleted warrants a strong statement from the would-be Mayor. As a “progressive” independent Norwood should exert greater care to not feed into Republican fear mongering in terms of non-existent voter fraud.
It is understandable that Norwood is upset about losing not once, but twice. However, her blatant disregard for the ways in which the current Secretary of State is interfering with voting access statewide is problematic. She further fails to acknowledge that “administrative” issues exist in many other cycles, not just the one important to her success. She and her team are being careless in the willingness to create a panic for potential points.
If voters are having issues then that needs to be clearly stated so it can be addressed accordingly. Otherwise, Norwood’s efforts feed into what she claims are false narratives of her as a closet Republican.
We need a clear path forward to address issues of voter suppression and election integrity. Norwood’s tweet, similar to her prior comments, was socially and politically irresponsible.