December 1, 2005
Whether she said it or not, the comments have energized African American voters in Augusta. Lots of people turned out at Antioch Baptist Church to express concerns about the voter ID bill and the comments attributed to State Representative Sue Burmeister. News 12 is on your side to explain why organizers are hoping Thursday night’s meeting send an important message.
There was a full house at Antioch Baptist Church for a town hall meeting, including local and state elected officials from both the democratic and republican party discussing one topic, the right to vote.
“It doesn’t matter if you are wealthy or poor, you deserve that right and any restrictions placed on voters I’m against,” said Johnny Hutcheson.
As the Voters Rights Act is soon up for renewal and as the legislative session is set to begin in weeks, many here say now is the time to rally against a voter ID bill set to be reintroduced likely requiring voters to pay for and show ID in order to vote. Supporters say it would eliminate voter fraud. NAACP President Dr. Charles Smith says it disenfranchises voters.
“It is unconstitutional and we don’t need it. There is no proof based on comment by Secretary of State Cathy Cox that there is voter fraud,” Smith said.
The meeting was fueled by comments attributed to Sue Burmeister saying if black voters in her district are not paid they will not to go the polls. A comment Democratic Party Chairman Lowell Greenbaum says she can’t take back.
“She did use the race card and despite the fact that Sue Burmeister denies this, anybody reading this report would know that this is an adequate representation of what she said,” Lowell Greenbaum said.
Johnny Hutchenson was on Thursday night’s panel. He says this is about more than the black issue.
“Anybody that makes this into a racial issue is off base. This is a voters’ rights issue,” Hutcheson said.
An issue that leaders are confident will send a clear message to Burmeister and the court system.
“We will prevail in the justice system in having this thrown out,” Smith said.