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This comment about ending early voting, from Gwinnett Elections Board Chairwoman Alice O’Lenick, has renewed calls for her resignation. The comment was made in response to a post on the Gwinnett Daily Post Facebook page about Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan expressing opposition to ending no excuse absentee voting.

Gwinnett County Board of Elections and Registrations Chairwoman Alice O’Lenick is under fire again for her opinions on elections after she suggested ending early voting if no excuse absentee voting is not ended in Georgia.

The new controversy emerged after the Daily Post put a link to an article about Lt. Geoff Duncan expressing opposition to ending No Excuse absentee voting on its Facebook page. O’Lenick previously said, during a Gwinnett Republican Party meeting, that she wanted no excuse absentee voting ended except for seniors and sick people.

In response to the Facebook post about the article and Duncan’s statement, O’Lenick posted a comment in which she stated, “then end early voting.” That prompted a backlash from Gwinnett County Commissioner Kirkland Carden and the Stacey Abrams-founded group, Fair Fight.

“Alice O’Lenick has revealed herself to be a political extremist dedicated to pushing a radical partisan agenda. She is clearly not capable of representing the interests of Gwinnett County or our voters,” Carden said. “In light of her disgraceful anti-democracy statements, I call on Ms. O’Lenick to immediately resign from her position as Gwinnett County Board of Elections Chair.”

O’Lenick previously made headlines and stirred controversy after she told the Gwinnett GOP that she wanted to see the Georgia General Assembly make changes to election laws, such as banning absentee ballot drop boxes and scaling back no excuse voting, so Republicans “at least have a shot at winning.”

That comment, along with others that came to light when they were reported by the Daily Post, prompted the majority of Gwinnett’s legislative delegation as well as more than a dozen civil and voting rights groups, including Fair Fight, to demand O’Lenick’s resignation while accusing her of trying to suppress voters.

It also inspired the hashtag, #AliceMustGo, which spread quickly after it was created by the Lincoln Project — a group formed to work for the defeat of former President Donald Trump in last year’s election — and became the second-highest trending item on Twitter in the U.S. at one point on Jan. 19.

She has so far resisted the calls for her resignation, and claimed at an elections board meeting that her suggested election law changes were not voter suppression.

But her remark on Facebook has reignited some of those calls.

“Still refusing to resign following her threat to state legislators in which she explicitly pushed for changes to election laws for the purpose of benefiting Republican chances to win future Georgia elections, Gwinnett County’s elections chief Alice O’Lenick has staked out a new position: Ending early voting,” Fair Fight, a group that has worked for the last two years to drive up voter turnout and voter access, said in a statement.

“The idea that any elections official would entertain forcing all voters in her county to vote on Election Day is absurd and cruel, and ending early voting in Georgia is undemocratic and untenable. She is not capable of performing the most basic duties of her office, and she must resign.”

O’Lenick said she had no comment about the new requests for her to step down.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

(4) comments

billgriffin

Voting by mail is not always done in secret. It opens the door for intimidation, harassment, and worse.

MissDaisy

Hang in there Alice. Common sense ideas these days are seen as radical. There has not always been early voting; the purpose of early voting is to add additional opportunities to vote. Whey not have an expanded election "day" and more polling places based upon population. A "day" could be from 7 AM on Sunday through 7 PM on Tuesday, and be open 24 hours. Mail-in and absentee voting is fraught with opportunity for improprieties; there is no way to monitor Fair Fight, and others, from intimidating voters and harvesting ballots.

MarvinGardens

O’Lenick's honesty is sort of refreshing : She openly acknowledges that when it is easier for everyone, including working class people, to vote, then Republicans lose. So her solution is to legally rig the elections so that it's more difficult for the working class to vote.

My advice would be to instead offer policies that more Americans want. Also disavow the far-right wanna-be autocrats that currently call your party home.

billgriffin

Easier (mail) voting means voting where anonymity is not assured. Opportunity for intimidating innocent people. Repugnant practice that has been abandoned around the world.

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