Opinion Columns & Blogs

The primaries are upon us

Had I been able to vote for Sen. Johnny Isakson, I would have. But because we live in Bibb County, my wife and I voted in the Democratic primary to help Sheriff David Davis and our tax commissioner, Wade McCord. They are both good men who have earned our support and I am proud to support them both.

With the primary on Tuesday, I hope you will consider it. Hopefully, we can spare ourselves from having C. Jack Ellis in charge of the county’s tax money. On the nonpartisan portion of the ballot, I voted for Jason Downey for the school board. Jason got elected initially as a reformer and I think he has done a good job and deserves another term. I know others are aggressively challenging him, but Jason has been a voice for common sense on the school board.

Getting the Democratic ballot, though, I had to laugh at the partisan questions. Both Republicans and Democrats get to ask questions of their voters. They are non-binding. The policy questions will often go nowhere. The Republicans in the Legislature have a long history of ignoring their voters’ answers to questions.

What amazes me about the Democrats’ questions is how unoriginal they are. They are public policy choices advocated by Democrats across the country. They demand government compel employers to give extra time off. They demand government compel citizens to refrain from developing land. Three of the four questions involve the government making demands on private enterprise and individual property owners. But the fourth question really is amazing.

“Should Georgia automatically register to vote all legal and permanent residents upon issuance of a driver’s license or state-issued ID, which includes an opt-out provision?” That is the question. On the surface it may sound rather innocuous. In fact, you may think that citizens already have the opportunity to register to vote when they get their driver’s license. But that’s just it. A “legal and permanent resident” is not a citizen of the United States.

Federal law requires that only citizens of the United States be allowed vote in federal elections. It seems a no-brainer. Why would you want someone who is not a citizen of your country to vote in your elections? But that is exactly what a growing number of liberals want across the country. In California, several municipalities have tried to allow residents, not necessarily legal residents, to vote in local elections. Thus far, thankfully, courts have frowned on the issue.

The question, however, raises larger issues about citizenship and its meaning. My seminary professor has been a legal permanent resident of the United States, though a citizen of the United Kingdom. This past year he became an American citizen. I pity him that his first American election will involve a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

In any event, he had to study American history and our founding documents. He had to understand what it means to be an American, then he had to take an oath that he would “absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which (he had) heretofore been a subject or citizen; (and) that (he would) support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Legal, permanent residents are not under that obligation. They are not citizens. It should horrify all of us that the Democrats in Georgia would consider giving non-citizens the right to vote.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.