Smith: Getting out the vote is key for Democrats

by W. Winston Skinner

Getting out the vote is a key to Democratic victories in the future in Georgia, according to Coweta County Commissioner Al Smith.

Smith talked about the need to get disengaged voters to the polls during the Atkinson-Arnall Dinner at the Newnan Centre on Friday night. “The percentage of the turnout is so low,” he said.

“It perplexes me. It troubles me,” he said. “Why are there so many registered voters who don’t vote?”

Smith said there are 800,000 African-Americans in Georgia who are registered but do not vote. It is not unusual, he said, for candidates to be elected with only 17 percent voter turnout.

“You boil it down, it’s apathy. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way, and, if it’s not, you’ll find an excuse,” Smith said.

He talked about the importance of voting in each election. While a vote always has the same value, he noted votes in a city or county election have more weight than one in a state or national contest.

Jason Carter, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate and this year’s Atkinson-Arnall keynote speaker, sounded a similar note. “The more people we turn out, the better we do. We want more and more and more participation,” he said.

Carter said Republicans are working to limit the ability of people to participate in the electoral process. When a group is working for inclusion in voting, “you know you are on the right side,” the candidate said.

Smith said energizing more people to vote could make a difference. “Georgia can turn blue,” he said.

The crowd at the Centre was “by far the largest” for any Atkinson-Arnall event, which dates to 2004, said Dennis Thompson, county party chair. About 170 people attended the catered meal.

Others speaking during the evening were Jimmy Glenn, who is organizing the Coweta County Young Democrats; longtime Coweta Democratic Party leader Dee Crouch; Cynthia Bennett, state senate candidate; and Ronnie Redding, who chaired the committee that organized this year’s Atkinson-Arnall Dinner. A quartet from East Coweta High – Lydia Bentley, Caleigh Brand, Marina Maldanado and Michaela Smith – sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”



More Local

Lawsuit Filed Against Georgia’s Certificate of Need Law

A lawsuit has been filed against the State of Georgia challenging the state’s medical Certificate of Need law. Current state law requi ... Read More


Saddam captor speaks at First Baptist

U.S. Rep. Steve Russell told a full sanctuary at First Baptist Church of Newnan they must not let cynics and critics plot the future of Ame ... Read More


Confederate flag – heritage or hate?

The first time Tony saw the Confederate flag, he was 5 or 6 years old. It was the late ‘50s or early ‘60s. The image was burned ... Read More


Army surplus store honors local war hero

Coweta war hero Johnny Calhoun is back in Newnan. James Johnson, owner of Newnan Tactical & Army Surplus, builds mannequins representing ... Read More


Cause of Bulloch House fire still unknown

The origin of a fire that destroyed a Warm Springs restaurant on June 10 is still unknown – and may never be known. The Bulloch House, ... Read More

Battle flag only one of several Confederate flags in history

What has become properly known as the “Confederate flag” was never the flag of a nation or a state. The Confederacy had a nation ... Read More