A Republican state senator in Georgia sparked a dispute with a pastor in his district after complaining about early voting being implemented in a predominantly African-American neighborhood, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters,” state Sen. Fran Millar (R) wrote on his Facebook page. “If you don’t believe this is an efort [sic] to maximize Democratic votes pure and simple, then you are not a realist. This is a partisan stunt and I hope it can be stopped.”
Earlier in the day, Millar posted a statement criticizing the county’s interim CEO, Lee May, for allowing early voting on Oct. 26, a Sunday, at several polling places in DeKalb County, including one at South DeKalb Mall.
“Per Jim Galloway of the AJC, this location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches such as New Birth Missionary Baptist,” Millar wrote.
When DuBose Porter, who chairs the state’s Democratic Party, accused Millar of wanting to stifle votes in Black neighborhoods, Millar issued a follow-up statement rejecting that argument.
“I defined educated as being informed on the issues,” Millar wrote. “Finally Mr. Porter is welcome to look at my DeKalb NAACP award, so don’t try to accuse me of trying to suppress the African-American vote.”
But Millar was then ripped by Raphael G. Warnock, the pastor for Ebenezer Baptist Church, in a message to the Journal-Constitution.
“While he boasts that he has an NAACP award, as if that shields him from the wrongheadedness of his recent remarks and threats, he should not kid himself. So does Donald Sterling,” Warnock stated. “Fran Millar must apologize immediately for this insult to the African American community and to the fine people of Georgia for suggesting the worst about who we are today.”
Warnock argued that the early voting day would open up opportunities for people who work during the week to be able to reach the polls.
“Senator Millar’s statement that he would prefer ‘more educated’ voters rather than those who attend ‘several large African-American mega churches’ in DeKalb County is a clear and unabashed echo from our ugly and painful racial past,” Warnock’s statement read. “How does he propose to determine who is more educated? Literacy tests? Grandfather clauses? Poll taxes? We have been there before.”
[Image via Georgia state Senate official page]
[h/t Talking Points Memo]