Presberg: District voting defense costing BoE

Chairman says county ‘waging political battle’ at teachers’ expense

The chairman of the Fayette County Board of Education has taken umbrage with the Fayette County Board of Commissioners for defending the current at-large voting system in federal court.

BoE Chairman Leonard Presberg chided the county for “forcing us to use our precious resources — money that should be going into the pockets of teachers rather than the pockets of lawyers — to wage a political battle over the technical interpretation of the Voting Rights Act.”

The lawsuit was filed in August by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, seeking to force district voting for all five seats on the school board and the county commission. The BoE in January voted 3-2 to pursue a settlement in the case that was initially approved by the court. That settlement was later overturned after the county objected since it had not approved the initial settlement, which included a new BoE district map that allowed district voting instead of at-large voting for all five BoE posts.

District voting would allow voters to select only one candidate for each board: the seat which corresponds to the current geographic district the voter lives in.

In contrast, the current system of at-large voting allows voters to cast ballots for all five slots on both the board of education and the county commission.

The NAACP contends that at-large voting prevents black residents from being able to select the candidate of their choice. Because the black population of Fayette County has risen beyond the 20 percent mark, the NAACP wants one of the districts drawn to significantly increase the chances that a black-supported candidate could win election.

By objecting to the previously-approved settlement between the BoE and NAACP, the county commission is effectively causing the BoE to spend more money on the lawsuit, Presberg said. And these expenditures are coming at a time in which the school system is looking at the possible closing of five schools to save money, facing a multi-million dollar shortfall in the 2013-2014 school year.

Presberg, a Democrat, said he sees it as his job to continue the progress made since the Voting Rights Act was passed.

“I am hopeful that our children will someday live in a world where no one feels disenfranchised, where disputes such as this are read about in history books not on the front pages, and where racial differences no longer divide us,” Presberg said in a statement emailed to The Citizen.

Presberg declined to criticize the NAACP, which filed the suit in August that could well be on the ropes due to the settlement map not meeting a case-law mandate of having one district with a voting-age black population of at least 50 percent plus one voter.

The largest such district on the map approved by the NAACP and BoE, which was later struck down by the judge, contained a voting-age black population of 46.2 percent. Given that U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten gave the first round to the county on the lack of a 50-percent precinct, it may not bode well for the NAACP’s chances to prevail unless another map can be drawn to comply with all statutory guidelines and create such a district.

In court last week, attorneys for the county contended that the new map created for the BoE seats was racially gerrymandered in the opinion of their expert witness.

The NAACP indicated that its expert witness who drew the maps did so without considering race as a factor.

Steve Brown
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Presberg

Presberg is exhibiting the liberal views that are dragging our nation down. I truly wish he would worry more about creating legitimate solutions to their funding crisis which has nothing to do with the district voting issue.

To date, I do not think Chairman Presberg has delivered a single solution on the budget. It will be interesting to see what role Janet Smola plays now that she is a lame duck.

NUK_1
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WHOA...Steve Brown ...whoa

YOU were totally in favor of the position that Presberg is taking right now only a few short years ago and loved castigating opponents of district voting in a Letter to the Editor of The Citizen as being the biggest bunch of backwards bigots on the planet.

Stop the hypocrisy already. I don't agree with Presberg either, but please tell me how his position right now is any different than yours "back then" when Logsdon and Ramsey wiped the floor with you during elections?

A lot of people would say that the only reason a former NAACP Man of The Year changed his views to the exact opposite is because you realized there was no way in hell you would ever get elected to anything anywhere in FC otherwise. Some would say that makes you a total hypocrite too, even worse than the TDK fiasco of being 100% against it, woops, 100% for it now, then 100% against it again.

In case u forgot about your scorching letter about all the "oppressors" opposed to district voting, here it is:
http://archive.thecitizen.com/node/26339

jpopeye
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Democracy depends on it

Simple concepts like voting and representation are pretty much accepted by everyone. Nuances like participation and collaboration go beyond the surface civics of a few. The noble goal should be to preserve the union and find what works for the majority.

It seems to me that allowing districts simply levels the field. We all are people who want the best for our children. There might be some posturing between district representatives but my faith in the democratic process tells me this will work itself out.

Two observations:
1. The comment about NAACP explaining the lawsuit is very telling. Does someone not support the advancement of colored people?
2. At large voting is equal to popular voting isn't it? Be careful with that logic as demographics shift.

renault314
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Jpop- democracy does NOT depend on racisim

Its interesting that you want a solution that will work "for the majority." It seems to me that if left alone, with everybody voting on everybody, whatever the results are would be the will of the majority.
And no, district voting does not level the playing field. It does the exact opposite. It UNLEVELS the playing field so a particular person can win. In what way is that democracy? This is just affirmative action in the polling place, a place where race should have nothing to do with it. Im sorry, but if your candidate doesnt have the best ideas or run the best campaign, they shouldnt win. The color of their skin is irelevant. If your candiate has the best ideas and runs the best campaign, they should win. color is irrelevant. But district voting makes race the only relevant factor. Yet, no one has explained how being black makes you a better board member. Being white doesnt make you a better board member. So why have someone elected to a post just cause theyre black?

as far as your observations go, 1) yes, the NAACP name explains it all. And the double standard is disgusting. Substitute the word "colored" for "black" and it doesnt sound so romantic and harmless, except thats what it really is. No one for one second belives that if there was an enclave of latinos in the north instead of blacks that the NAACP would give a crap about this. Not that anyone cares if their is an organization out there that supports black interests, knock yourself out. But promoting those interests above other races, or at the expense of other races, is racisim. And yes, in case you didnt know, "colored" people can be racist and have racist agendas. Now let me answer your question with a question. Does someone NOT believe that the NAACP supports black interests over and above and without regard to everyone elses interests?
obsevation #2. Logic is logic, no matter what color you are. Your comment suggests that white people should accept district voting since, in the future, blacks may/will be the predominant ethnic base in the county and then (gasp!) all five posts might go to black people! Oh the humanity!
your comment is stupid and short sighted for several reasons that i will now explain. 1)Creating districts for some innocuous reason is one thing. But, creating districts for the sole purpose of allowing a person of a particular race to win a seat is racisit. no matter which race benefits from it. It is RACIST. We in FayCo want no part of racisim or a racist scheme like this, and because we dont want a racist scheme in our schools we get called racist. How ironic. 2) creating a district with a black majority so they can get a candidate on the board assumes that a) white people only vote for white people and b) black people only for for black people. This entire concept is racist. Except that it is the whole premise the NAACP lawsuit is based on. Otherwise, if whites would vote for blacks and blacks would vote for whites, the need for district voting evaporates. 3) No one cares what race the school board memebers are, we just want good candidates. So your veiled threat about at-large voting working against the white man after blacks have taken over the county in the future have no teeth. No one cares what color they are, we never did. We STILL however, would want the opportinity to vote on ALL of them, since they ALL get to spend out money and have influence over our children.

ginga1414
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The Answer To A Lot Of Our School Board Problems

The answer to a lot of our School Board problems is Dr. Barry Marchman.

I've had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Marchman and his family several times.

PLEASE get to know Barry by visiting his website: http://www.barrymarchman.com/Home.html

I will most certainly be voting for Dr. Marchman in the Post 1 position for the Board of Education. He is a fine family man with greatly needed credentials.

Quick Bio: Dr. Marchman teaches finance classes at Georgia Tech College of Management and before that he was an electrical engineer with Ericsson Private Radio Systems and Georgia Power company. He has a BEE from Georgia Tech, an MBA from Florida State, and a Ph.D. in Finance from Florida State. He has been married 17 years to Evelyn and they have three boys and four girls ages 1 to 14.

Why should we vote for Dr. Marchman to fill the Post 1 seat on the Fayette County School Board?

Because as he says, "The most critical issue facing the Board of Education right now is finance. I would like to offer the board a four year course in fiscal discipline and free market economics."

g8trgrl
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Ginga1414

What schools are the Marchman kids at?

Veritas
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G8trgrl....

Really....and what difference does what or which schools his children attend make?

Busy Bee
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Veritas

I think the issue is whether his children attend Fayette County Schools or if they attend private schools (or if they are home-schooled). The guy is running for a Fayette County BOE post and has seven children ranging in age from 1 to 14. He has a website for his campaign that lists all of the places in the community where he is involved, but somehow manages to neglect to mention the schools that his children attend. Why has he not addressed that? It seems odd... If they attend private schools or if they are home-schooled, I think it is reasonable to ask him why he does not think the Fayette County school system is adequate for his own children and why he is running for the position if he isn't using the system for his family that includes school age children.

g8trgrl
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Busy Bee

You nailed my thoughts exactly.....I saw the web site & I saw no mention of schools - which I found strange.

AtHomeGym
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g8trgrl & schools

So do you know where Chairman Presberg's children attend school? Does that matter to you? What if Marchman had NO children? In my view, all he needs is a desire for public service and the skills to contribute to efficient management of FC resources.

Busy Bee
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AHG

I wouldn't dismiss out of hand any school board candidate who educates his/her children at a private school or at home, but I would want to hear their explanation as to why they choose to opt out of public schools, and that answer will have an effect on my choice as a voter (as well as other facts about the candidate). If they see some inadequacy in the system for their own children, what would they do to improve the system for others? If the candidate has children who have aged out of the system, I would want to know if they were educated in public schools, in whatever school district they were assigned to at the time, and if not, why. If the candidate had no children at all, then I would at least want to know how they feel about public school systems in general. I think that is completely relevant to the job they are applying for.

g8trgrl
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AtHomeGym

I did not get the CHANCE to vote for Presberg. I am able to vote for Marchman. It makes a difference to me that they have some affiliation with the schools in this county. If he has never set foot in a public school in this county - I will not vote for him.

AtHomeGym
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g8trgrl & schools

So do you know where Chairman Presberg's children attend school? Does that matter to you? What if Marchman had NO children? In my view, all he needs is a desire for public service and the skills to contribute to efficient management of FC resources.

fc1989
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Racially gerrymandered???

Isn't the point of creating a 50% plus one African-American district racially gerrymandering. Also, Presberg's comments indicate that the county is fighting over a technical interpretation.....does that mean it is better to base following the law on opinion and not the facts of the law? I am not a lawyer but it seems that the difference between a 46% African-American district to a 50% African-American district is just a technicality. It seems that race is the issue because the current law keeps it an issue. It is time for GA to be removed from the requirement of DOJ clearance in the Voting Rights Act.

PTC Observer
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fc1989

That's why they call it the NAACP. The moniker says it all and explains the lawsuit.

The Mole
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County forces money out of teachers' pockets

The county commissioners are taking money from teachers. My, my!

Mr. Presberg,

You voted to discontinue the medical and dental insurance supplements for all employees.
You voted to discontinue paying for long-term disability and life insurance in order to put two full-time assistant principals at two of the smallest schools in the county.
You voted to discontinue the National Board Certified Teacher supplement.
You voted to reduce the calendar and thus 5 days of pay for teachers.

Are you saying your vote would have been “No” to all of the above if only the county had not stepped in? I doubt it!!!

chadf
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Presberg doesn't care about teachers

The real news here is not about the lawsuit and district voting. The real news is that Leonard Presberg claims to care about teachers. Nonsense! Mr. Presberg, along with his 4 comrades on the school board, have voted huge compensation cuts for Fayette school employees. The reduction in salary and the elimination of many benefits is quite a blow to our school district. Nevertheless, Presberg and friends have fearlessly protected many needless bureacratic positions. (Anybody know what the Deputy Superintendent actually does? What about the other central office paper pushers that create unnecessary work for teachers?)

My friends tell me there will slow, but steady, exodus of the best and brightest employees from our schools. As the economy improves, the speed will heightened. Presberg is either clueless or careless about all of this.

Dondol
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Presberg

Your part of the group that filed the lawsuit that's costing us the money Fool!

phil sukalewski
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District voting only fair with taxes staying in that district

I'm all for district voting if the member elected from each district only gets to spend the money collected from the constituents in that district. Otherwise I want some say in all of the people spending my tax dollars.

Of course the solution to all of this is a voucher which follows each child to whatever school (public or private) that they choose to attend.

FYI - Watch how fast the schools in Louisiana improve with the new statewide school voucher system they are adopting.

renault314
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claims of racisim will only increase with school vouchers

It sounds like a great idea in theory, each parent getting to decide where your child goes to school, so, who would you have to blame but yourself (and your kid)if the child does poorly? But in the real world, with organizations like the NAACP constantly trying to justify their continuing to exist, things dont work that way. Plus, since when does a parent blame themselves for a crappy kid anymore?
Heres how it would shake out. Vouchers never completely cover the cost of going to school for a kid. A school system is more than the sum of its parts. it is less expensive to educate a large number of kids collectively than it is to educate them all seperately. if you take the $170mil school budget and diveded it up amongst the 20K kids we have in the system, it comes to about 7K dollars or so. Im not sure if youve priced private schools in FayCo lately, but I think they cost a little more than that. Add in the cost of transportation (if youre going out of district)and other associated costs and then even with a voucher, going to the private school of your choice or even the public school of your choice becomes out of reach for a lot of people. Some students will leave, (taking their money with them) because their parents can afford to pay a little out of pocket for their kids to go to a different school. And some will be forced to stay, bacause their parents can't. Except now, the school everyone wanted to get away from gets worse, because they have less money to operate with. The spiral continues. Now here comes the NAACP, seeking to inject themselves in a issue to justify being. They will claim that the rich kids (read: white) get to go to the good schools cause they can afford it and the poor kids (read: black (I would say "minority" but we all know the NAACP doesnt care about asians and latinos)) have to go to the crappy schools and isint that racist. Then we have more lawsuits, the DOJ steps in, nobody wins. Im not making this up. Its happened before.
Vouchers always start out with lofty, high-minded idealisim but never work the way they were intended.

I like your idea of only getting the money from your district if you go to district voting. Of course, it would never work either, for the same reasons i just mentioned.

I just have to wonder how fast the minority citizens in north FayCo would get the NAACP to drop their rediculous suit if they knew your little idea was attached to it? They are quick to call the rest of us racist, but they are also quick to spend our money educating their kids in our fantastic schools. hypocrits.

Davids mom
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Public Schools/race- Renault

Taking 'race ' out of your correct summary of the issue , and you arrive at the same answer - only based on family income, not race. If families are not happy with the public school system, they elect private schools or home schooling if they are fortunate enough to afford the choice. There are white families who will not have the choice of using a voucher for a
private school. Many private schools are integrated. In a large urban school system, what actually happened was the 'middle class' left the public school system. What saved some families was the opening of Magnet or Charter Schools. These schools included bus transportation. One solution just may be improving public schools for all American children. American schools used to be the best in the world - regardless of the 'race' of the American child in attendance. it's difficult to understand how this could have happened in a country that is not still harboring some racist attitudes. Oh well . . .

What some newcomers don't understand is that unfortunately Fayette County is still suspect based on past racist practices. There are those who feel it is beneficial to verbalize fears based on the color of a citizens skin instead of celebrating the obvious progress that has been accomplished in race relations. The focus of most civil rights organization is education. However, when there is a suspected attempt to limit the voting input of minorities, these organizations do unite to make sure The Voting Rights Act is adhered to.

renault314
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I agree, race has nothing to do with it

That was the point I was trying to make, although i guess i shot a little wide on that one. It has nothing to do with race, why the voucher system wouldnt work, and everything to do with income. I 100% agree and im glad you see that. However, since incomes tend to mirror ethnic lines, someone (like the NAACP) will eventually claim that it is racist, file some lawsuits and crash the system and we will have spent all that effort and money for nothing. Vouchers do not just work for private schools. the system would allow kids to go to other public schools in the county as well.
Magnet schools and charter schools likewise have had very limited sucess. Charter schools look good on paper because students apply for the positions and the very best are cherry picked by the admin. With the cream of the crop, and parents who give enough of a crap to make their kids apply, those schools couldnt fail if they tried. I could turn any failing public school in the country around in a year if given the opportunity to kick out the boneheads and the slackers and not accept any special needs students. It might have the same name on the door, but it wouldnt really be the same school would it? That is why charter schools cant work on a large scale for an entire county. Not every kid is the top 20% are they? And, im sorry DM but here it comes. If you tried that in FayCo, and allowed applicant in based solely on academics and test scores, most of the kids rejected would be minority. Then here comes the NAACP and we start all over again.
The real problem is not that the schools are racist, but that minorities have lower achievement levels. That has nothing to do with public schools being racist. if they were, then areas that are predominantly minority, with minority school board members would be some of the best in the nation. but they arent, are they? minority underachievement in this country has everything to do with parents/home life and media influence. If the NAACP really wanted to do some good they would start there.
DM ive told you before im a high school teacher in this county and I can tell you having two involved parents is a far greater predictor of success than family income. although a few bucks never hurt anything, its just isint required. The NAACP doesnt want to tackle that one though, its just two easy to call everyone racist.

thats why your comment about " it's difficult to understand how this could have happened in a country that is not still harboring some racist attitudes" doesnt make sense. first, how "what" has happend exactly? second, that statement contradicts itself. You say that schools have gotten worse, (I say that parents have gotten worse but oh well) and believe it has to do with racisim. But by every concievable measure, race relations are better now than they were in the 50's or 60's. (surely no one here is suggesting that the country is more racist now than it was in the 50's?) So how can it be that schools have gotten worse due to racisim, but there is less racisim? obviously one has nothing to do with the other.

Davids mom
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renault
Quote:

And, im sorry DM but here it comes. If you tried that in FayCo, and allowed applicant in based solely on academics and test scores, most of the kids rejected would be minority. Then here comes the NAACP and we start all over again.

You and I are talking about Fayette County - but you are using valid statistics for the state and country - and not Fayette County. You are speaking generally of charter and magnet schools - which do not exist in Fayette County to my knowledge. The majority of minority residents in Fayette County are not below the poverty level - but are 'middle class' and compete quite favorably with 'white' students.

My statement: it's difficult to understand how this could have happened in a country that is not still harboring some racist attitudes" was a poor attempt at sarcasm. Some statements in this discussion for the past seven years have brought to light racism that I have not seen demonstrated in my day to day contact with Fayette County citizens. . .but obviously still exists today in our country and some residents of Fayette County

Quote:

You say that schools have gotten worse, (I say that parents have gotten worse but oh well) and believe it has to do with racisim

I feel that the educational offering in the K-12 system has deteriorated because of many reasons including the college preparation of teachers; the lack of early childhood training from home; the lack of parent participation in schools, the lack of curriculum reflecting the current needs of society, etc., etc., etc. I don't feel any or many of the reasons I just cited has too much to do with racism today. In Fayette County - minority parents and 'white' parents appear to cooperate in activities involving their children. There are 'minority' parents who are not taking advantage of Fayette County schools, and have enrolled their children in private schools in the area. I have not had the opportunity to work with the NAACP in Fayette County (have you?) - but have learned from my participation in the community that making general statements about the white population or the NAACP is not always reflective of the population in Fayette County. Fayetteville has a larger minority population than PTC according to the 2010 census. Both cities have only 5% of their citizens below the poverty level in income. 28% of the firms owned in Fayetteville are owned by minorities. My observation in some Fayette County schools is that some minority families have made a concerted effort to enroll their children in FC schools either by using false addresses (white families have been found guilty of this tactic also) or moving into apartment dwellings that charge a low rent.

Renault - there are minority schools in urban areas that have high academic achievement and their students succeed in college. However - you are right, the participants are 'cherry- picked' and their parents MUST PARTICIPATE AND COOPERATE WITH THE SCHOOL STAFF AND ADMINISTRATION. No one can deny the 'gap' between 'whites' and 'minorities' as indicated by public school tests. It is disingenuous to apply these known statistics to all minority families in Fayette County. Adults/communities that have high expectations for children usually produce children who achieve.

NOTE: the college preparation of teachers; I was very disappointed when the concept of anyone with a BA could teach children was implemented in these United States. I noted that when we began to get teachers who had very little knowledge of child growth and development; classroom management; effective techniques for teaching the K-12 grade child, we started having children in classrooms where the adult had little or no control. Why? The adult had little or no knowledge of how to create a learning environment for K-12 grade students. 60% of teaching is having the gift of inspiring an individual to learn - 40% is academic knowledge IMO. The teachers that one remembers are those who inspired them to learn more about the subject and how to apply that knowledge to their everyday life. Teachers today must have a MA in an academic subject. Outstanding teachers are getting additional certification - and it is sad that because of budget cuts, Fayette County may not recognize the efforts made in getting this certification by adding a bonus to a teachers' salary.

Anywho - racism exists; progress has been noted; general statements seldom tell the reality of a situation involving humans today. (The term 'anywho' was used back in the day)

grizz
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Davids Mom
Davids mom wrote:

However, when there is a suspected attempt to limit the voting input of minorities, these organizations do unite to make sure The Voting Rights Act is adhered to.

Who is trying to limit the voting input of minorities? There's no one at the polls with billy clubs threatening voters except for the Black Panthers. (One of your 'civil rights' groups)

Minorities are free to vote just like everyone else. However, there are some that want to vote based purely on race, and that is flat out racist.

Davids mom
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Fayette County?

Black Panthers? 2012? Voting Rights Act? Limiting access to input? Ignorant statements from the uninformed? If there was no question as to limited input, there would be no case. Unfortunately past practices of some states keeps them on the 'watch list'. Bringing up the vision of Black Panthers in a discussion of Fayette County is ludicrous. . . while someone evidently feels that an attempt to limit minority input may be an issue. It was most rewarding to vote in Fayette standing in line with all citizens and engaged in neighborly conversation. Some refuse to celebrate this change. . .and it is a change.

grizz
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DM - You still didn't answer my question...

.....which is quite typical.

I ask again. Who is trying to limit the voting input of minorities?

S. Lindsey
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Don't hold your breath...

DM is high on rhetoric but low on facts...

grizz
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S. Lindsey

All of the 'disenfranchisement' accusations from the left are completely baseless and are merely a tool for them to try to allow the dead and illegal a vote in U.S. elections.

It's gotten so bad, I'm going to have to vote 3 times in the November elections in order compensate for all of the fraud perpetrated on America by the democrat liberal party.

S. Lindsey
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It's got so bad minorities have to vote multiple times

just to break even...

Madison Wisconsin had a 119% voter turnout. Now that's participation for you.

Davids mom
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The Bear
Quote:

Who is trying to limit the voting input of minorities?

Insecure grizzly bears!!!

Davids mom
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Oops!

.

renault314
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delete repeat comment

delete repeat comment