It is time for us to travel back to Georgia for a spell; but unlike Gladys Knight and the Pips, we are not taking the Midnight train, and we are not going back to find a "simpler place in time." (Ain't nobody nostalgic for the "good old days" because "racist.") Oh no, Dear Readers, we are going back to Georgia for a runoff election! Democrats, backing John Barrow for secretary of state in Georgia, are desperate to find a way to minimize the impact of voter suppression, while also hoping to find themselves victorious after a devastating loss* for Stacey Abrams. For many Americans nationwide, that questionable loss was not just a loss for Abrams, for Democrats, or for Black voters in the South; the outright vote theft was instead a loss for our democratic system of government. The Abrams race shined a light on the myriad of ways that the state's voting system could and had been manipulated by a secretary of state who was utterly lacking in integrity.

Democratic candidate John Barrow, who describes himself as a "raging centrist" (that means "socialist" in GOP speak), served in the US House of Representatives for Georgia's 12th district from 2005 to 2014, before being taken out by Republican Rick Allen (who maybe hates immigrants) during that hellscape of a midterms we saw brutalize Democrats and boost Republicans. Barrow will again be facing Republican Brad Raffensperger, who received more votes than Barrow yet did not make it to the 50 percent threshold he needed to secure an outright victory.

Barrow is nothing like Brian Kemp, who has such failures as Tom Price on his transition team, and is now the illegitimate governor-elect of Georgia. Kemp, if you recall, only vacated his secretary of state post AFTER striking 1.4 million voters from the rolls, and suppressing countless thousands of other votes. What Democrats -- and democracy -- need now is for John Barrow to win and implement the changes to Georgia's voting system that he proposed during his debate with Raffensperger in October.

If elected, Barrow said he would decertify Georgia's direct-recording electronic voting machines, which don't leave a verifiable paper trail showing voters' intent. State legislators plan to consider buying a new statewide voting system next year, but Barrow said Georgia's touchscreens are too unsafe to continue using in the meantime.

John Barrow is known to folks who follow Georgia politics, and the GOP in Georgia has done all manner of things to try to shake him off. Barrow is like a hungry dog focused on a tasty meat-bone when it comes to representing his state. That may be why Republicans decided to literally rewrite the district lines to try to erase John Barrow from Georgia politics. It didn't work. So they did it again.

Local Republican and Democratic officials agree that many in the area know Barrow, a Harvard-educated lawyer from Athens who became a friendly and familiar face around the district, which Republicans in the state Legislature reconfigured twice in an effort to unseat him.

GOP official Dave Barbee says of Barrow:

"He didn't vote my way. He was constantly on the other side of the aisle," he said. "He said he is centrist, but he's liberal."

In a state known for some SUPER sketchy practices, like somehow "wiping" (ACCIDENTALLY) the state's election server of voting data immediately after a lawsuit was filed by election reform advocates, the voters have a clear choice. Do they want cheaters to prosper, or nah? Kemp, who refused to resign during the election he was busy tampering with, was secretary of state's office during the data wipe, and Raffensperger shows absolutely NO SIGN of having any intentions whatsoever of changing what's working for the (cheating for Republicans). This may be what led to the Libertarian candidate, J. Smyth Duval, deciding to endorse John Barrow over his GOP competition.

"John Barrow is the best choice to represent the interests of all Georgia citizens including independents, Libertarians, and fiscal conservatives," he said.

Kudos to Duval for doing the right thing for his state. Georgia is a state with a rich history of black liberation activism that is often juxtaposed with oppression, repression, and oppression. Names like Julian Bond, Martin Luther King Jr., and John Lewis are as much Georgia's legacy as their tired looking Confederacy infused state flag (Stacey burned that muthafucking flag, y'all!). Monuments like Stone Mountain are constant reminders of horrifying racial tragedies, like that time in 1912 when Forsyth County drove each and every last one of their 1098 black residents out, and became an all white enclave for generations.

Although the reminders of the past are visible and ever present, it is no longer 1912, and black people have now gained enough political power to lobby for their own interests. Stacey Abrams, who has harnessed her energy to fight the "gross mismanagement" of Georgia's elections through her group "Fair Fight Georgia" is also backing John Barrow for secretary of state, and urging her supporters to push Barrow across the finish line.

Early voting will begin next week, on November 26. Barrow and his allies in the Georgia Democratic Party do realize they are facing an uphill battle, but they are determined to fight until the last vote is counted. For those of you in DeKalb County, Georgia, voting locations have been posted, so make sure to bother and harass everyone you know to get their asses to the polls.

We will leave you with John Barrow, he's a Democrat, his teeth are sharp, but we swear he won't bite ya.

*Stacey Abrams did not lose, Brian Kemp cheated.

[barrowforgeorgia/The Root/AJC/HuffPo/APNews/WaPo/]

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