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Palast writes: "I don't want compensation, I don't want to press charges. I want an answer to the question: Who will decide the race in the Sixth - the voters or Jim Crow?"

Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel. (photo: AJC)
Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel. (photo: AJC)

ALSO SEE: Georgia’s Extra-Special Election Enters the Final Stretch

Will New Jim Crow Scam Tip Georgia's Ossoff-Handel Congressional Race?

By Greg Palast, Reader Supported News

19 June 17

GOP goons grab reporter when he asks how 40,000 minority voter registrations vanished

aren Handel took a break from beating up Democrat John Ossoff to attack a reporter: me.  In the televised debate between the two candidates vying for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, Republican Handel claimed, “a reporter supposedly representing some very liberal Democratic organization almost literally accosted me.”

Handel's handlers trying to prevent Greg Palast from asking a tough question

In fact, is was a trio of galoots working for Handel who accosted me.

But who accosted whom is less important than Handel promoting the dangerous new trend of attacking the press, sometimes physically, when questions are uncomfortable or challenging.

Handel is afraid I’ll report what I began uncovering in my investigations in Georgia’s 6th.  I first came here in 2014 for Al Jazeera, when I interviewed an enthusiastic group of Korean-Americans based in the 6th, the Asian-American Legal Advocacy Center. When I returned to cover the current race, I found the Asian-American voting rights office shuttered and empty.

Apparently, the group which had launched a “10,000 Korean Votes” registration drive discovered that many of their registrants simply never appeared on voter rolls. Their lawyers’ query about missing voters to the Secretary of State resulted in a raid by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and a threat of criminal charges.

Voting rights attorney Nse Ufot told me what happened:

They were doing a campaign to register 10,000 Korean-Americans to vote, and had quite a bit of success. At some point during the campaign, they noticed that many of the folks that they were registering were not showing up on the voter rolls. So, they reached out to the Secretary of State to say, "Hey, where are our folks? Why aren't they showing up on the rolls?"  They never got an official response.  What they did get was the GBI kicking in the door and requesting all of their files.”

While no charges were brought, the terrifying raid, was enough to put the Korean voter group out of business.
And Ufot’s own group, New Georgia Project has seen the registrations of new voters of color suspiciously…vanish.

Ufot told me, ‘We submitted 86,419 voter registration forms.  There are 46,000 of the folks that we've registered who have made it, and 40,000 of them are missing.’

So New Georgia Project contacted the Republican Secretary of State’s office.

“You know what they told us? ‘We don't know what you're talking about. What forms?’  They did not disappear. We intentionally registered voters on paper forms so that we could make copies. We knew who they were. They were not on the voter rolls.

When African-American activists raised a ruckus over the disappearance, they got the same treatment as the Korean-Americans: a Gestapo-style raid on their offices, threats of criminal charges and jail term.

But the African-American organizers had long faced down Jim Crow intimidation tactics.
I wanted Handel’s story—and not just as a candidate.  She herself was Secretary of State, and up to her chin in these vote suppression games.

I started out by asking if the Democrats were stealing the election, and she was pleased to say, “They’re pulling out all stops!”

But when I got to the subject of her office purging voters, one of her henchmen jumped in front of me, slammed me backwards and while two others grabbed and muscled me away.  She refused to answer to a question about the raids on voter registration groups, but the crowd answered for her, chanting “U! S! A! U! S! A!” – as if a journalist asking a question is the new enemy of America. And that’s frightening. Not the clowns who assaulted me. They were more buffoonish than threatening.

I don’t want compensation, I don’t want to press charges. I want an answer to the question: Who will decide the race in the Sixth—the voters or Jim Crow?

Greg Palast has been called the "most important investigative reporter of our time - up there with Woodward and Bernstein" (The Guardian). Palast has broken front-page stories for BBC Television Newsnight, The Guardian, The Nation Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Harper's Magazine. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, Armed Madhouse, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, and the highly acclaimed Vultures' Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review. His books have been translated into two dozen languages. His brand new film of his documentary reports for BBC Newsnight and Democracy Now! is called Vultures and Vote Rustlers.

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+33 # FIRSTNORN1 2017-06-19 09:57
Go Greg ! ! !
+30 # maggetybrick 2017-06-19 10:08
This is terrifying. Now Trump's attacks on the First Amendment are spreading, and with no holding the perpetrators accountable?
+37 # mngreer 2017-06-19 10:17
I live just about 1 mile outside of the 6th District. I can assure you that Republican shenanigans about voter registration and voter rolls are alive and well in Georgia. Not too optimistic that the current Supreme Court will do anything about gerrymandering that they plan to take up next Fall. I have no representation in Washington. I can contact their offices and they all but laugh at me.
+26 # Elroys 2017-06-19 10:24
Voter turnout is the only way to stop this Republican thuggery - educating people on the most critical issues, pointing out the lies, and supporting all voter registrants no matter what tactics the Repubs use to deny voters their right and responsibilitie s as American - VOTING for who they choose, not who the Koch brothers and the Repubs want.
Let's face it - the Rs will throw any obstacles they can think of (legal and illegal, devious and corrupt) to prevent those they see as likely D voters from getting near the polls. Imagine voting these people out of existence. They are a minortity party losing credibility and support. They are controlled and funded by the most greedy elements of society who are simpy out to build their own wealth and influence. If we just keep on doing what we've been doing we'll simply keep on getting what we've been getting.
+34 # Salus Populi 2017-06-19 10:42
I think that the only way to answer these Nazi Brownshirt tactics is to *fight back.* *Demand* a jail term for the goons, and bring federal civil rights charges against the slimy thug who stole the votes so that she could win the office. If Sessions or his henchmen refuse to investigate, take it to the Atlanta Journal-Constit ution, the WaPo, the local tv news.

Bring suit in federal court. Ask a sympathetic Congressperson to hold hearings. Make sure that Handel is considered as just as vile as Kenneth Blackwell to the general public.

Just demanding an answer will get nothing but the runaround or a brazen denial.
Fascists understand and respond to nothing but force, and they are all cowards at heart. The only reason they have gotten away with stealing the country is that the Democrats, who long ago deliberately abandoned their New Deal roots and constituencies, use the far-right gallop of the Republicans as a shield to cover their own canter in the same direction, and therefore refuse to stand up to the manifest illegality and the blatant fascism of the "family values" scum.
+16 # maddave 2017-06-19 10:47
I'd be ecstatic to be proved wrong, but Palast's question -- Ossoff or Jium Crow?" -- is valid, and only time will answer his quetion. However,based upon past performance and political history in Georgia -- much of which is borne out by his personal eperiences -- the "smart" money will be on Handel. After all, this IS Georgia, the state that chose the otherwise incompetent, unabashed segregatinist and axe-handle-dris tributor Lester Maddox as their governor and lt.governor.
Keep your finger crossed, but don't bet more than you can afford to lose.
+28 # grandlakeguy 2017-06-19 11:50
This is an episode of American "ELECTION THEATER" at it's finest!

This is the same Georgia that had a Diebold patch named "rob Georgia" illegally installed in a past election.

I see one of two outcomes here:
Either the Republicans will Let the Democrat candidate "win" to defuse the ever growing awareness that our elections are merely for show.
The Republicans will have another "stunning upset victory" of 51% to 49% regardless of what the polling numbers show.

Personally I think that they would be wise to allow Ossoff to be the winner since it is only for the balance of the current term and will not affect their majority in the House.

I feel that the issue of the fact that we have fake elections in our country is gaining public awareness and we have brave journalists like Greg Palast to thank for that.

Thanks Greg!

Perhaps someday we Americans will actually have representative governance...we certainly do not have it now!
+3 # nogardflow 2017-06-19 14:42
I believe anything is possible, but 'almost literally' is hard to pull off.
0 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2017-06-19 14:50
There is a tactic that would be difficult to effect but if it succeeded, it would be a HUGE threat to states that suborn voter registration fraud. File a lawsuit based on the 14th Amendment.

Section 2 of the 14th states that if a state denies eligible male inhabitants[1] the right to vote, that state’s representation in the House “shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.”[2] If the New Georgia Project’s 40,000 disenfranchised voters represent one district, there being 14 districts in Georgia, a favorable SCOTUS ruling could lead to Georgia losing 2 House seats, not just for one election but until the 2022 election.

[1] It is probable that SCOTUS would rule the clauses in that amendment applied to ALL inhabitants, regardless of gender.
[2] See the amendment for complete wording.
0 # lfeuille 2017-06-19 16:51
I don't know. I think maybe pressing charges will bring more attention to the situation which might help in the long run. Think of it as strategy, not revenge. It might help you get the answers you want.
+7 # Greg Scott 2017-06-20 14:36
Not to be a killjoy, Ossoff is most certainly better than Handel and it would be good to take the seat from the Republicans, but I was never that enthused about him. He always seemed like a go along get along kind of Democrat. I could be wrong but it's my impression he was picked by the Democratic party insiders.

When he first started running, I looked for information on him. Votesmart had nothing, no speeches, no policies. His web site only had very boiler plate standard Dem positions.

I have been getting fund raising emails for him for months and they are schizophrenic. One email says "We're winning" and 2 minutes later I get one that says "We're crushed". Never anything about what he stands for.

There's huge money pouring in. (I get suspicious now when I see 4x-5x matching funds. I don't trust big money duels anymore, one way or another the representative will be beholden to big money.) But not much to get excited about...I keep saying "Not Trump is not enough". I want people who will fight for US.

It's better if he wins, but not much progress toward taking the country back from the oligarchs.

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